For many homeowners, the issue of clogged gutters isn’t often taken seriously. However, clogged gutters may develop into a huge problem which can drive the cost of roofing maintenance up, and also create a series of health hazards that may be difficult to deal with.
For instance, some of the solid debris that has accumulated in a gutter may contaminate the rainwater harvested, and health hazards can arise if such water is used for domestic purposes.
The many problems that are associated with clogged gutters can be kept in check, and that is only possible if a homeowner takes the time to remove any solid debris that may have ended up on a roof. Here are some common problems that are linked to clogged gutters.
Here are the 3 Problems Caused By Clogged Gutters
1. Roof Damage
Excess presence of solid may cause harvested rainwater to spill into other roofing components such as corrugated iron sheets, wood structure, and some of the water can find itself on walls. Water speeds up rusting process of iron sheets, and that means that a roof with clogged gutter may not survive its projected lifespan. Besides, water also accelerates rotting of wood, and with time a roofing system may lose much of its structural strength. Rusting iron sheets and rotting wood may mean a costly roof repair costs, and in some instances, a complete overhaul may be the only viable solution, an even more costly situation.
2. Weakening walls
Some of the water spilling from a gutter may seep into the wall, and with time create structural cracks that may end up weakening the whole foundation system of a building. Walls are designed not to have too much contact with water. However, a clogged gutter creates a path through which spilling water gets to be in contact with a wall. The development of the cracks often takes place at a slow place, and much of the damage is usually felt when the effects of the water seepage seem to be irreparable. The water may also wash off paintings on a wall, and leave an eyesore that can reduce a building’s aesthetic value.
3. Damage to housing foundation
For many homeowners, it can be difficult to connect any correlation between water spilling from a gutter and house’s foundation system. Water spilling from a gutter does end up on the wall, and finally the structural foundation. Accumulation of water in the foundation can lead to cracks, position shifts, and worse of all; a slow sinking of the housing foundation. Bringing such as house into its right structural strength may turn out to be a nightmare, and that is why it pays a lot if gutters are ever clear of any excessive solid debris accumulation.
Most of the time homeowners are thinking of roof renovations, much of the focus is often on leakages, wood structure and the overall strength of a roof. Gutters rarely get the attention. However, it turns out that clogged gutters can bring un-imagined levels of destruction to a house roofing system and other vital components. The best way to stay safe is by regularly clearing the gutter of any debris. It is simple. You only need a ladder and human vision to identify and remove the solids from the gutter. If you don’t want to do this yourself, then get a quote and let us take care of it for you.
It’s time to start cleaning your gutters regularly, if you’re not doing it already. This is not a fun job by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s something that simply can’t be put off too long for fear of the consequences, small and large. And yes, there are a lot of things that can happen if you don’t clean your gutters! How much harm can dirty gutters do? A lot more than you might think.
No One Enjoys Gutter Cleaning, But…
Gutters simply don’t work well if they are not properly cleaned on a regular basis. This means a minimum of once every 6 months for most houses in the US. No matter what kind of gutters you have, they can have big problems if they get dirty.
Dirty gutters can lead to leaks all around your home. Small clogs build up and cause water to sit, which may lead to leaks in the gutters, the roof, the basement, and possibly even the foundation. All of this can happen just because water is not able to flow properly through the channels out to a good drainage field away from the house.
It isn’t just leaks you need to worry about though. In some cases, when dirty gutters are left too long, they can fail completely and break apart. They may fall from your house onto the ground, develop gaping holes, disfigure into shapes that don’t carry water away, or break along seams and connection areas. When your gutters stop working right, they cannot carry water away from your home properly.
The purpose of a gutter is to get water from your roof to a more controlled drainage area. One of the main reasons for this is to keep your foundation secure. It’s entirely possible that if your gutters break or fail and water drains along the side of the house, you may experience problems with your foundation, not to mention your home’s siding.
Foundation issues include cracks in concrete foundations and potentially walls, insect infestations (from entering in through the foundation), rot in wooden foundations, and damage caused by ice. Wherever water can enter, ice can form in the winter time. This is very dangerous for a concrete foundation, because it can create increasingly larger cracks that may end up making your house structurally unsound.
All of this is possible from just neglecting to clean and maintain your gutters? Yes! It might not all happen, and some of these problems can take time to develop, but all of these issues can be directly caused by poor water drainage systems and dirty gutters!
Options for Cleaning Your Gutters
If you want to make sure you don’t face the above-mentioned problems, you’re going to have to clean your gutters. You don’t have to do it yourself, because there are a lot of companies that offer this service to people who can’t or don’t want to clean their own gutters.
Cleaning gutters yourself is easy enough for people with one-story homes, and can be made easier with certain gutter guard products. However, if you can’t keep up a regular maintenance schedule and clean them out at least once every 6 months, you should hire someone else to come and do it for you to make sure you keep your gutters fully functional.
It’s not inevitable that you’ll face horrible issues from dirty gutters, but a lot of damage can be caused if you neglect them for too long. Don’t let it get to that point, and get in the habit of gutter cleaning as regularly as needed for your house. As always, if you aren’t a DIY type of person, let the pro’s at We Get Gutters Clean™ take care of it for you. Get your free quote by clicking here.
First off, it’s important to note that a lot of different things get trapped in your gutters. Clogs are not usually made up of one exclusive material, and will generally contain a mishmash of random things. A majority of materials you’ll find in the gutter will be organic materials, such as leaves, twigs, seeds, and dirt. This stuff can come from anywhere outside, no matter what area you live in.
Other stuff that frequently shows up in your gutters includes shingle gravel from roof tiles, toys (if there are kids around), or nails and other assorted materials from your rooftop. This stuff can come from anywhere, and your gutters are bound to get clogs even if you live in the middle of the desert!
How Do Gutter Clogs Form?
Even though things get into your gutters, how do they actually form into clogs that won’t just wash out? It seems like materials that land in the gutters should just be pushed out of the downspouts when it rains, since water flows through the gutters.
Unfortunately, that’s not always how it works. If it were only one type of materials, such as leaves, maybe there would be fewer clogs. However, clogged gutters can start because one or two pieces get stuck in the silt on the bottom, on a seam, or on any slightly rough area in the gutters. The silt is especially problematic, because it can catch almost anything and make it stick. Once one piece sticks, a lot more debris will get caught on it and will quickly build up a clog.
How to Help Prevent Clogged Gutters
There are a few simple things you can do to help reduce clogged gutters, but you cannot prevent them entirely. The first is to add gutter guards. These are not always effectively, since they can’t filter out everything, but they do help in reducing major clogs from leaves and other types of materials.
Arguably the best solution for clogs is to do more frequent gutter cleaning. But removing the layer of silt from the bottom of gutters and frequently scooping out anything that may be stuck, you are going to dramatically decrease the chance of large clogs happening.
During the winter, ice and snow can cause a lot of trouble around your house, yard, and car. One thing it does pretty consistently is damage gutters. If it isn’t the ice dams making water overflow, it’s the heavy snow that weighs down gutters and eventually breaks them apart.
What can you do to help prevent damage before it happens? Gutter cleaning, inspection, repairs, and snow management all work well.
Clean Gutters are Safer
If there is debris and dirt left inside your gutters, ice dams are more likely to form, and melted snow won’t be able to flow down to the ground. This means the water may overflow from the sides of the gutters, creating long icicles, or it will continue freezing inside the gutter to make even larger dams. Both options can lead to broken gutters and leaks. It’s better to help prevent this issue by cleaning your gutters before the first snow fall. Clean gutters allow water to flow unhindered, while gutters with small or large clogs will make it easier for water to pool up and freeze.
Inspect Your Gutter Installation
Besides cleaning the gutters, it’s also important to make sure you look over the construction of the gutters. If they are not stuck on the roof tightly enough, or the installation method is not solid, they may be ripped from the roof by heavy snow.Specifically, you can check if the gutters are held in place by screws or pegs, and if there are snow-proof gutter guards of any kind covering the tops.
Older gutters may have a peg-style installation that is not strong enough to hold up the extra weight of snow. These gutters could crash down the first time you have a large storm, so it’s a good idea to prepare yourself for that possibility and to see what you might be able to do to stop it.
Gutter guards are not always useful against snow, but some of them are built to help keep huge piles of snow out of the gutters. If you have gutter guards already or want to install them, look for snow-proof types that will resist snow.
Take Action after the Snow Falls
You can help your gutters and your roof by taking some steps to help remove the snow from the gutters before it piles up too heavily. A snow rake is one of the simplest methods to use, and you can pull the snow off the roof safely to the ground. Be careful using it though, because you don’t want to accidentally pull down your gutters instead!
Snow may not mix well with gutters, but you’re not completely helpless to protect your home from damage when the winter weather comes around. Take these steps to keep the negative effects of bad weather away.
Birds nest wherever they please, whether it’s in your trees or in your home’s gutters. No matter how you feel about birds, they don’t belong in your gutter and may cause serious issues if they do nest in gutters!
You’ll want to remove the bird nest as soon as it’s possible, and take any measures you can to prevent future nests from popping up.
What Happens When Animals Nest in Gutters?
Nests may seem harmless to you, but they do cause a lot of necessary issues in your gutters. Birds, squirrels, and some small rodents usually enjoy gutters because of the relative safety and the enclosed space for them to make a sturdy nest. However, these same nests can cause horrible clogs in your gutters that will eventually cause leaks and even breaks if they stick around too long. It’s best to remove the nests as soon as you can, to minimize the damage done.
How to Clean Gutters with Nests
Here are the steps to cleaning out a nest in gutters once you know about it:
1. Check if the Nest is Active
With squirrels and rodents, this step is not really necessary, as they can stay in their nests for a longer period of time and they are not as dependent on the space.
However, birds are different in that regard. Eggs and baby birds cannot be moved to a new nest and cannot survive on their own if their parents move on.
Watch the nest for signs of birds coming back and forth, or take a peek inside and see if there are eggs or baby birds inside. If it’s an active bird nest, leave it alone until it’s inactive.
2. Wear Protective Gear
Birds can carry a lot of nasty parasites that can transfer to you upon touching the nest. It’s a good idea to wear long sleeves and working gloves for this job.
3. Remove the Nest to a Safe Location
Carefully pick up the whole nest and remove it to a location away from your home. You can throw it directly into the trash outside, since it won’t be necessary for the birds anymore.
4. Clean Up the Area Immediately
Instead of waiting, take your hose out and
clean out your gutters, paying especial attention to the area around the nest. This will not only wash away the parasites and germs left by the birds, but will also remove dirt and debris that collected around the nest area.
5. Take Preventative Measures Against Future Nests
Gutter cleaning is a good way to check for nests and clean them out when possible, but if you get consistent problems of bird nest in gutters, you’ll need to think about doing something else to keep them away. Some home owners install gutter guards, while others place objects around the roof to scare birds away, such as predator statues or spinning pinwheels.
Birds are great critters, but their nests are not good for your gutters at all! Don’t let the nest in gutters sit there for too long. Get it out as soon as it’s inactive, so that you can avoid the trouble that can follow.
Cleaning out gutters is something that should be done regularly. While we always think of the ladder cleaning method as the other choice, there are numerous methods to clean out the gutters. One that’s not as common, but works just as well, is gutter cleaning with leaf blowers. A leaf blower or a shop vac will be able to suck up leaves or blow them out of the gutters easily, so it’s no wonder this method is used by some who want the job to go by quickly!
Gutter Cleaning with Leaf Blowers
Want to know more? Here’s what you need to know about gutter cleaning with leaf blowers:
– Is it easier than regular cleaning?
While it’s hard to say it’s easier or harder, it does take less time than manually scooping out the whole gutter system. It could be considered harder for some people, because you’ll need to climb up the ladder with a leaf blower, or else use a long pole attachment from the ground. With limited arm strength, this would be harder than the normal methods.
– Is it safe?
As long as you use the right safety precautions and dress appropriately, it’s safe to clean your gutters with a leaf blower. There is no reason to be afraid of this any more than you would be of normal gutter cleaning methods.
– How do you set up your leaf blower?
That depends on how you want to do the cleaning. If you want to clean from the ground, you’ll need a long pole attachment that’s rigid from the ground to the gutters and turns at least 90 degrees to form an angle on the top. The pole should ultimately face downwards into the gutters, so that you can turn on the leaf blower and push everything out from the ground.
Alternatively, you can carry a small leaf blower up the ladder with you. Make sure you’re maintaining a good grip on the ladder, and that the leaf blower is not too heavy to use in one hand.
It’s a good idea to put an attachment on the leaf blower that will make the air shoot out from a narrow tube. This will concentrate the flow of air and make it easier to blow leaves out of the gutters and away from the house.
– Can you clean the downspouts with a leaf blower?
The short answer is yes. But, you may need a special attachment to make it possible. You can flush out a downspout with your leaf blower by concentrating the air flow through the top of the downspouts and pushing everything down through the bottom. Or, you can vacuum the leaves out if there is a clog. Sometimes large clogs cannot be cleaned out this way, and you may need to do it with another method.
Gutter cleaning with leaf blowers can help you clear out the mess out leaves, sticks, and debris without having to use your hands. If you get the right attachments, you have even be able to do it from the ground without a ladder.
Gutter hooks sound like an integral piece of gutter installation, but they’re completely unrelated to normal gutter system functions. So, what is the job of a gutter hook, and are these pieces of equipment a good thing to have on your home?
Gutters are usually installed directly onto the wooden boards around the top of your home, just below the roof. These are known as fascia boards, and they support the gutter system’s full weight. Usually gutter hangers are installed into the fascia and used to hold up each gutter section. This is the normal installation for gutters, and as you can see there is no mention of gutter hooks at all!
Using Gutter Hooks
The reason gutter hooks aren’t mentioned as part of the installation is because they don’t serve a functional role in operation or installation. Instead, they’re used for decorative purposes. Gutters aren’t known to be the most attractive part of your home, but since they run around the entire edge it’s impossible to hang anything without interfering with them.
Instead of causing any sort of real damage to your gutters, placing small hooks around the system allows you to hang your decorations (think Christmas lights and potted plants) as you please. Hooks are mostly clear or made to match the gutter materials, so they won’t interfere visually with your design.
Gutter Hook Replacements
You can buy gutter hooks and replacement packs in many hardware stores. They come in a few different shapes and many material variations. Chances are good that if you want a gutter hook for your home, you’ll be able to find one that meets your requirements.
It’s good to note that you won’t be able to find gutter hooks that work with most gutter guards or covers. These elements are not compatible with gutter hooks, since they will usually block the edges too much for hooks to attach as they should.
Are Gutter Hooks Safe to Use?
There is a big debate over whether you should use gutter hooks or if they can cause damage to your gutter system. No clear answer comes up from this question, but there are some guidelines that would be wise to follow.
It’s a bad idea to hang too many heavy objects from the gutters, be it plants or anything else decorative. Christmas lights are most likely safe, as they won’t add much weight to the system. Try to avoid hanging many decorations of any kind on longer gutter runs, since the weight will add up and put a lot of strain onto the system.
Never use gutter hooks or anything else that will add weight if the gutters are already sagging or damaged. In this case, hooks might cause the demise of your gutters by adding more weight than they can handle.
You can use gutter hooks to pretty up your house, especially since gutters are not known to be the most attractive design element. But, use them with caution and understand that they are adding weight to the system that might result in too much strain over time.
Taking care of your rain gutters by having them regularly cleaned, inspected, and if needed repaired by a professional will help you to keep them working properly for as long as possible. It’s easy to forget about your rain gutters, but if you do you are going to end up regretting it. Maybe not tomorrow, or the next day, or next week, but at some point, you are going to realize that ignoring your gutters was a huge mistake.
Part of taking care of your gutters and downspouts is hiring a professional company to clean and inspect that twice a year or more. Another part of taking care of them is paying attention to any warning signs that there may be something wrong. If you ever suspect there is a problem with your gutters, then call a professional company like We Get Guttersand have them come out to check them out as quickly as possible.
Taking Care of Your Gutters Will Help Them to Last Longer
If you have ever balked at the idea of paying a professional for gutter cleaning, then take a moment to think about how you would feel about paying to have new rain gutters installed. Having new rain gutters installed on your home is going to cost you thousands of dollars.
If you think you can save money by doing it yourself, your probably wrong unless you are an experienced professional. So, you are going to have to pay full price for installation.
Maybe you can save money by using vinyl gutters instead of a more expensive material like stainless steel? You could do that, but then you’d end up having gutters that wore out more quickly. That would mean you would have to replace them sooner, which of course would mean more money out of your pocket.
If you have a more durable material, such as copper, then you could be looking at decades or even a lifetime of them lasting you. Wouldn’t that make more sense that preparing to pay someone thousands of dollars to install new gutters?
Why Do Neglected Gutters Fail More Quickly?
The gutters on a house are connected to a thin board called a fascia. They are mounted using mounts and screws. The entire set up is designed to be as light as possible. So, what do you think happens when you allow debris to pile up in them? Well, it adds weight to your gutters.
Added weight means added strain, which is going to end up causing your gutters to fail sooner than they would normally. It may not be a lot of weight, but a little bit of weight that is constantly applying pressure to your gutters will cause them to fail.
If you are still on the fence about hiring a professional to clean your gutters and downspouts, then try to think of this as an investment rather than an expense. Your home represents a sizeable financial asset for you, and you need to protect that asset.
That means making sure that regular maintenance is kept up in your home, which of course, includes having your gutters cleaned and inspected by a professional at least twice a year.
Why A Professional Gutter Cleaner Isn’t Just Your Best Option, It’s Your Only Option
When the time comes to clean your gutters, which should happen twice a year, hiring a company like We Get Gutters isn’t just a good option, it’s the only option you should be considering. What about hiring a handyman?
Well, this is a mistake for a number of reasons. Think about this, do you think a handyman will be as good at cleaning gutters as a someone that only works on gutters for a living? Do you think he’ll have access to the same equipment? Will he care as much about doing the job the right way?
A professional gutter cleaning company can be counted on to do a better job because of the simple fact that they are going to care more than a handyman. If a gutter cleaning company does a poor job their client can file a complaint about them. That, in turn, will damage their reputation, which can definitely impact their future ability to attract new business.
In the rare event that a gutter cleaning company does a poor job and won’t correct the problem, then you have the added assurance of knowing that they are licensed, bonded, and insured. That means that if they do a bad job, damage your home, or suffer an injury on the job you aren’t liable.
On the other hand, should a handyman do any of these things you could be looking at some serious financial ramifications. In fact, not only will you probably have to pay for any damages they cause, you will also probably end up having to pay for any medical bills they have due to injuries they suffer while cleaning your gutters.
So, what you have to decide is whether you want to try to save a little money up front by hiring a handyman to clean your gutters, or if you want to make the smart move and hire a professional. If you still aren’t certain then try picturing a handyman standing on top of a ladder armed with a bucket and a hose. Then picture a gutter cleaning professional armed with a high-pressure water sprayer. Who do you think is going to do a better job?
What Causes Gutters to Get Clogged
The rain gutters and downspouts on your house are there to help control the flow of rainwater and direct it to where it won’t cause any damage to your home. Unfortunately, rain gutters also excel at capture leaves, twigs, pine needles, insect, bird droppings, and all manner of things that will end up clogging them up. There really is no way to avoid having your gutters collect debris, which means that there is no way to avoid having them cleaned.
Are Gutter Guards the Answer?
After realizing that rain gutters get clogged, and hearing that there is nothing you can do to prevent this, many people choose to question this. They choose to look for a solution to a problem when the obvious solution of simply having your rain gutters cleaned on a regular basis already exists. So, some people make the mistake of turning to gutter guards.
Gutter guards sound amazing. They are screens, covers, and various other devices that are designed to sit on top of, or inside of your rain gutters to keep them from getting clogged. But, like many other things in life that seem too good to be true, gutter guards are as well. Gutter guards generally fail for one of two reasons.
They either succeed in keeping rain gutters clear but fail by reflecting away too much water, or they get clogged themselves which can cause a rain gutter to collapse from the added weight.
Gutter guards that utilize a solid guard on the top of them actually do quite well at keeping debris from getting into the rain gutters. But, guess what else they are quite good at keeping out of a rain gutter? Water. When you have a cover over your gutters this cover will end up reflecting away at least some of the water that is directed toward the gutter.
When that happens, the water will usually end up pooling at the base of your home, where it can do a lot of damage. In many respects, this is quite a bit like having no rain gutters at all. In other words, a gutter cover defeats the ability of a gutter guard to do its job.
If you opt for a screen style gutter guard, these don’t have the flaw that causes them to reflect water away, which is definitely a good thing. Unfortunately, they too have a flaw that makes them ineffective. That flaw is that they tend to trap debris, and in time they will cave in and block your gutter. Then you end up with a blockage, which can make water spill over the side of your gutters, or it can cause your gutters to collapse. In either case, this is not a good situation to be in.
On top of being ineffective, gutter guards will also cost you money, and they will wear your gutters out more quickly. Gutter guards not only cost you money when they are installed but since you still have to pay to have your gutters cleaned they will cost you money here as well. After all, you don’t think that the gutter cleaning company you hire is going to do extra work for free now, do you?
Do gutter guards really shorten the life of a rain gutter system necessitating gutter replacement? They absolutely do. What you have to remember is that your rain gutters were designed to be as light as possible while still being strong enough to support the water that they help to channel. When you add weight to a rain gutter, even a little weight, in time that weight will speed up the demise of that rain gutter.
What Kinds of Problems Can Water Damage Result In?
If you are wondering just what kind of damage you can be looking at if your rain gutters fail, well, it’s quite severe. When water gets into your home through a small, slow leak, you are most likely going to end up with toxic black mold as your main problem. Yes, it is as bad as it sounds. Believe it or not, there are mold spores all around us.
They are just sitting there waiting for an opportunity to become active, and then they spread. When that happens, you can end up with a major mold problem in only a few days, which is why it’s so important that you keep water from getting into your home. That means ensuring your rain gutters and downspouts are in good condition at all times.
While toxic black mold is bad enough, it’s actually not the worst thing you can expect in terms of water damage caused by leaking or faulty gutters. The worst thing that could happen is damage to the foundation of your home. This happens when water pools at the base of your house, then seep underground.
From there it enters the small cracks that are present in the foundation of every home. This water isn’t really a problem as long as the weather is warm. But, when the temperatures drop below freezing that water will turn to ice, expand, and then split your home’s foundation open.
Taking Care of Your Gutters and Downspouts Is an Important Part of Home Maintenance
Being a homeowner means that you have a responsibility to maintain your home. Not only do you want to maintain it so that it remains a place you enjoy living, but also so you can protect its value. A failing or leaking rain gutter system opens your home up to all manner of problems in terms of water damage. Water damage can be so destructive that it can actually end up costing you your home.
If you want to protect your home from the threat of water damage you need to protect and maintain its first line of defense, the rain gutters. If the rain gutters on your home fail then your home is going to suffer water damage. There’s really no way to avoid it at this point. The good news is that keeping your rain gutters and downspouts in great condition really isn’t that hard to do. It’s also not that expensive.
All you need to do is hire a professional to come out and clean and inspect your rain gutters. You need a professional that you can trust, and if that’s what you are looking for then you should definitely call We Get Gutters.