A Free-Flowing Gutter Is a Happy Gutter!

During any rainy season, gutters work hard to protect a house from the devastating effect of water seepage. This building component catches rainwater and directs it to the downspouts and eventually to ground drainage. Conventionally, its primary function is to prevent the build-up of moisture and large amounts of water from flowing down the sides of the building that could cause damage to the outside covering of the structure. Over time, gutters collect different types of debris that can cause blockage and impede the normal flow of water.

Such debris could include: dried leaves, broken branches, or pieces of shingle or granules. If these are left undisturbed, this gathering could cause potential damage to roof and fascia as well as breaking the eaves trough system which in the end would defeat its primary purpose. So contacting a roofing contractor to clean the gutter system is probably a wise decision to make.

Gutter Cleaning Importance

In the event the working condition of the eaves troughs is not noticed immediately, the accumulation of waste could get heavy and clog the system. If this happens, rainwater can overflow down the sides of the building onto the foundation and damage that structure. So it is important for this narrow channel to be maintained in good condition by cleaning and regular maintenance. Here are a few of the reasons for this important building upkeep action:

  • Enhanced Safety – During the summer when dry leaves accumulate in the gutters, that contributes to the fire hazard of dry leaves on the roof. Keeping the channel clear and free from any debris will reduce and mitigate this risk.
  • Water Damage – Regular maintenance reduces the possibility of water pooling and overflow that could result in damage to the roof’s structural integrity.
  • Corrosion Prevention – When water is allowed to stand in one place, a chemical reaction can take place which could result in corrosion to the roofing material; however, if the system is debris-free, it prevents such a chemical reaction from happening.
  • Health Risk – Mosquitoes and vermin love to breed in damp and moist places. If an eaves trough has accumulated leaves and trapped rainwater, it can create a breeding habitat for various insects and vermin. To avoid the risk of this occurrence, ongoing debris removal is important.

Gutter Cleaning Methods

Basically, eaves troughs and downspouts should be free from leaves or other debris. Blockage of these components can result in water overflowing; pulling the gutter away from its attached structure; rotting of any underlying wooden structure; and the corrosion and rusting of exposed metal. To prevent this from happening, follow these steps on how to clean an eaves channel.

  • Inspect – Collect any necessary tools such as buckets, garden trowels, ladders, heavy working gloves, and garden hoses and inspect the gutter for the presence of debris.
  • Debris Removal – Remove leaves, shingle granules, sticks, seeds, and twigs using a gardening shovel or gloved hands; place such debris in the bucket.
  • Flush and Brush – Flush out residual waste with the garden hose. Encrusted dirt can be removed using a hard bristle brush.
  • Check Cleaning – Ensure that obstructions have been cleared from the gutters and drainpipes.
  • Check for Pooling – Check the gutters for any pooling of water. This can indicate low spots or sagging of certain portions of the eaves channel. If this happens, fasten new hangers or additional ‘spikes and ferrules’ to hold the system sturdily in place.

Logically speaking, if a gutter is blocked it should be cleared immediately. There are simple clues that this is happening based on performance observations. If water flows over the side of the gutter, that portion is probably blocked and needs cleaning. Remove the debris that has caused this overflow to happen until functioning is back to normal. It is imperative that this drainage system be cleaned to prevent any resulting damage from such a condition. Regular maintenance from a roofing contractor will ensure that the gutter system is in good working condition and ready to protect a building from the destructive effect of water leakage. So a clean gutter is indeed a happy one!