The end of summer means different things to different people. Back to school. The start of football season. The start of foliage season. If you are homeowner, it also means it’s time to start routinely cleaning out your gutters. Pine needles, dead leaves, acorns and twigs are just some of the many forms of debris that can gather in your gutters over the course of the summer. This build up can prevent water from properly draining down your gutters downspouts. Keeping your gutters clean and free from debris is important all year, but especially as fall rolls around and the buildup of debris is hastened by dying tree branches.
Why is it so important to keep gutters clean? Clogged gutters can wreak havoc on your home and property in a number of different ways:
- Block water runoff – First and foremost, gutters must remain clear simply because clogged gutters can’t properly drain water away from your home’s facade and foundation. When backed-up water gets into your home’s infrastructure, it will eventually corrode the walls, foundation and basement floors, causing costly structural damage.
- Gutter Corrosion – As debris builds up in your gutters, it forms a corrosive sludge-like material that can actually eat away at the material that comprises your rain gutters. This will eventually weaken and damage gutters, hindering their ability to drain water properly. As water builds up to the point where it spills over the side your gutters, you can expect the dirty sludge to spill over as well, causing unsightly stains on your gutter’s facade and the sides of your home.
- Preventing Ice Dams – Routinely cleaning gutters in autumn will pay off well into winter when those nasty snow storms – dubbed “snowmageddon” in the Northeast – dump mounds of snow on your roof. Even before the temperature rises back above freezing, the snow starts to melt from the heat emanating out of your home. This heat will melt the snow from the bottom up, sending sheets of water down to your gutters. Clogged gutters will prevent this water from draining. Instead, the runoff freezes, creating damaging overflows of ice called ice dams. Icicles formed from ice dams may be nice to look at, but the additional weight puts tremendous pressure on your gutters, causing them to pull away from the home and in some cases completely break off, ripping away the facia board and causing damage beyond repair.
Preventing Clogged Gutters
Cleaning gutters can be a tedious and sometimes dangerous chore, particularly for elderly homeowners who are not used to getting up on ladders. But as you have read, letting your gutters get clogged is too much of a risk to your home. The easiest way to keep gutters clean is to keep them from ever clogging in the first place. Consider investing in a gutter protection system. The best gutter protection systems are designed to keep debris out of your gutters without preventing the gutters from doing their job of draining water away from your home. If you decide to install gutter protection, look for a product that won’t require replacement year after year, and can withstand the elements in your particular region. And don’t go it alone. Speak with an expert gutter installer, who can help you see beyond the shortcomings of inferior products.