A mistake many new homeowners make is thinking that gutters are just another aesthetic trim detail on their new home. In reality they have the very important function of diverting water away from your home and reducing the impact that moisture may have on a home. Making sure that gutters are well maintained and ready for rain can help save thousands on potential water damage! Below are a few frequently asked questions that could help new homeowners in the long run.
What happens when gutters are full?
Gutters are designed to catch water coming off the roof and divert it safely away from the house. If they become full of debris such as leaves, sticks, or anything else that blocks or restricts water flow, they can spill over the side of the gutter. This can cause structural problems, basement flooding, mold and mildew, damage to the foundation, and other issues. In addition, the gutters themselves may get damaged from the weight of the water and become less efficient at diverting water, further adding to the problem.
What does a blocked gutter look like?
From the ground, there are telltale signs that can help identify that a gutter may be blocked without having to go on the roof. Here are a few of the most obvious signs:
- Water pouring from the top of the gutter. If a waterfall is coming from your gutter and not from the drainage hole, that gutter system needs a cleaning!
- Gutters are sagging. The excess weight from water and debris stuck in the gutter may weaken the structure and cause it to sag.
- Foliage popping out of the gutter. If there are leaves that are starting to poke their way out of the gutter, that means the plant growth is happening and may be the cause of a blocked gutter.
Do gutter cleaners clean downspouts?
Yes, gutter cleaners include the gutters along the facia boards and also the downspouts as part of their services.
Is there a tool for cleaning out gutters?
There is no one way to clean out gutters, but there are several tools that can help make this task a breeze. Here are a few popular tools to help new homeowners clean their gutters:
- Telescoping hose wand. Great for those who are afraid of heights. Wands easily attach to existing hoses and can be adjusted to reach the gutters to spray directly into them and clear out debris.
- Gutter cleaning scoop. Caution, ladder required! These scoops are made especially for gutters and can help clear out whatever is in there with a single arm motion.
- Pressure washer attachment. Like the hose wand, but if a little more “oomph” is needed to clear out the debris. Attachments clip onto pressure washers and deliver a high powered stream of water sure to clean out even the toughest blockages.
- Shop vacuum attachment. Can be attached to a shop vac and either suck out the debris or blow it out. Either way, clean gutters are what will be left.
- Leaf blower. For those comfortable on a ladder or the roof, going through the gutter system and blowing out whatever is in there is an easy way to prepare them for the rain.
What is the fastest way to clean gutters?
The fastest way to get gutters clean is to hire a professional. They know what to do for each unique gutter system and how to quickly and efficiently clean them. For the DIYers, using any of the tools listed above will make life easier than putting a thumb over a hose opening and hoping for the best.
What happens if you never clean your gutters?
Not cleaning gutters will lead to buildup of debris in the gutter system which will lead to a blockage at some point. Blockages cause the gutter system to be ineffective at diverting water away from a home and can lead to thousands of dollars worth of moisture damage repair. In addition, the weight from the water and debris stuck in the gutter can damage the gutters themselves, as well as the facia boards that the gutters are attached to.
What time of year is best for gutter cleaning?
Whether hiring a professional or being DIY warriors, new homeowners should start looking into cleaning their gutters in the spring and the fall. Professionals get busy during fall, so booking a cleaning early is important. Those who do it on their own can take their time, but should finish the project by the time the first rain comes.
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