One of the many backyard responsibilities homeowners have is cleaning the gutters. The most important question is – how often should I clean my gutters? The short answer is: pretty often. This, of course, depends on where the person lives and what foliage they have near their house.
Our experts who install and repair gutters suggest that you should clean your gutters at least twice a year. However, if there are pine trees near the house, they should clean them every three months.
Let’s get into specifics.
The Importance of Having Your Gutters Cleaned
It’s safe to say that gutter cleaning is one of the most essential tasks when it comes to home improvement. Cleaning the gutters on a regular basis not only improves the look of a house, but prevents issues like water damage, freezing, and mold. In other words, to keep your house healthy, you must have clean gutters.
How to Spot Damage Made from Unclean Gutters?
The main question here is – how often should gutters be cleaned? However, it’s not the only one. Spotting the damage from unclean gutters can sometimes be rather complicated and therefore, every homeowner should know how to detect said damage.
Here’s how to do this.
There are a few factors people have to consider.
- Age – How old are the gutters? In most cases, the gutters last about 15-20 years until they need to be replaced. The older gutters are more likely to leak and cause damage.
- Pooling – If there are pools of water around the lawn or driveway, it’s possible there’s some drainage issues from the gutter.
- Water inside – One of the most obvious signs that there’s water drainage or leakage from the gutters is finding the water inside the home.
- Dripping gutters – If a gutter drips or water doesn’t flow through properly, it’s safe to assume that the downspout is clogged.
What Can Happen If You Don’t Clean Your Gutters?
Cleaning your gutters is a lot of work, especially if there’s only one person who can do it. This is one of the main reasons why people put off this work and neglect their gutters. But, is neglecting the gutters really that big of a deal? Here’s what can happen if a homeowner doesn’t clean the gutters on their house.
The very first thing that happens when gutters are clogged is the leakage. The water flow is disrupted and, as a result, the standing water collects. If the rain is persistent, the water will start to overflow and leak. Depending on the storm and the amount of rain, the leakage can be mild to severe. However, if not treated in time, the water may find its way into the house and cause damage. It could raise the hardwood floor and cause havoc on the electrical wires. It’s definitely something that a homeowner would want to avoid. The best way to avoid this kind of issue is to clean the gutters regularly.
Other than leakage, mold is one of the things that can occur if the gutters are not properly installed and cleaned regularly. For example, if the water stands still in the gutters, pretty soon the dead leaves will start to rot and decompose, which makes this a perfect environment for mold. The mold is dangerous because it can cause people respiratory problems, but it can also damage the home. Once it gets into the house, it’s complicated to get rid of it and more than likely requires help from the professionals . In this case, prevention is the best option.
In some cases, neglecting the gutters can even lead to roof replacement. This can be pretty expensive and most people are not ready for this kind of investment. When the gutters are clogged, rainwater has nowhere left to go but overflow or soak through the shingles and leak into the house. The water may damage the shingles and make them softer. This will allow for more leakage every time the rain falls.
The gutters that are full of water might fall off the house, taking some of the roof parts with them. This requires pricey roof repairs, but it can be easily prevented by regular cleaning.
This may sound a bit overdramatic, but clogged gutters can cause the foundation of a house to crack. How can this happen? Well, if the water can’t go through the gutters, it will overflow and leak. It will, eventually, find its way to the foundation and soak them. Then, in winter, the expanding ice will crack the foundation. To prevent this, a homeowner has to extend the downspouts away from their home and make sure the water can go through them.
Trouble with Pests, Bugs and Insects
The warm and moist environment, like a clogged gutter, is a perfect place for bugs, mice, and other pests. The wet and decomposing leaves are the food they are looking for and once they are done with the gutter, they will try to get into the house. This is something that every homeowner wants to avoid. Cleaning the gutters regularly will keep the pests at bay.
If the gutters are clogged, the water will overflow and drip into the yard. Eventually, it will find its way to the driveway. There, the wet mold may form and that is a slippery slope that can be dangerous to kids and older adults. Also, this water and mold will freeze in the winter and pose a threat for anyone who steps on it.
When Is The Right Time To Clean Your Gutters?
A lot of homeowners, especially new ones, are wondering when to clean gutters. As we said previously, your gutters should be cleaned at least twice a year. Or, if there are pine trees near the house, every three months. Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer to this question. How often someone cleans their gutters depends on a lot of factors. However, here’s a more detailed explanation.
Spring can be pretty rainy. Even though trees are not shedding in the spring, there is a lot of debris in the gutters and homeowners should clean them in order for water to run smoothly. Cleaning the gutters once during the spring will get the job done.
Summer can be dry and hot, but it can also bring storms. In most cases, stormy winds will bring the debris into the gutters and that may prevent the water from running through them. Cleaning the gutters a few times during the summer or before a storm will prevent any water damage.
Fall is the most challenging season for gutters. Most of the trees are shedding and the fallen leaves will definitely clog the gutters. Depending on how close the trees are to the house, a person should clean the gutters a few times a month during the fall.
Even though during winter there are no fallen leaves, there’s still debris in the gutters. The debris might disrupt the water flow and this may cause the water to stand still. This might be dangerous because, during winter, temperature goes below zero and the water in the gutters might freeze. If this happens, the ice might damage the roof or the gutters.
What’s the Best Way to Clean Gutters?
Cleaning the gutters seems like a simple chore, but it’s a messy and, if not done properly, a potentially dangerous job.
The best way to do it is by hand, but a high-pressure hose can also be helpful when it comes to removing the clogs in the downspouts.
Here’s how to clean the gutters.
- It’s important to wear proper protection – work gloves and eye protection.
- Getting rid of the gunk is essential. A garbage can or bag will get the job done. Leaving the decomposed leaves on the ground will attract insects and pests.
- Any leaks in the gutter should be sealed.
- If there is mold, a diluted solution of bleach and water in a spray bottle can be used to clean it.
If a person doesn’t have the necessary tools, health, and skills for this chore, which is likely, the best strategy is to call a professional. This is the safest and easiest option. Contact us on RoofingAboveAll.com if you need help.