It was probably your least favorite chore to do as a kid, but cleaning out your gutters at the end of the year is a must-do job. Most of us overlook our gutters because they are out of sight, out of mind. But gutters play an important role in protecting our home from water damage and costly repairs. Gutters are the silent killer because, by the time you notice a problem, the damage could already be done. Just to prove to you how important gutters are, let’s look at all the ways a clogged gutter can damage your property.
Gutters direct water away from our home but when they are clogged water can overflow. Many homeowners have flower gardens or shrubs around their home. Water from an overflowing gutter can flood and erode your flower beds and gardens if they are close to the house. It’s important that you keep your gutter working property so water is directed away from your house.
Gutters can clog with leaves and other debris which can be attractive to animals like bugs and rodents. If you have any weak points in your home, these critters could find their way inside where they can chew through drywall and electrical wires. Clogged gutters are also attractive to female mosquitoes who require standing water to lay her eggs. Imagine having a mosquito hatchery just above your head and not even know it.
When gutters hold water, it can cause leaks in your roof or in your walls. Water can get inside and sit for a long time, rotting the wood that your gutters are mounted to. During the winter, ice forming in the gutter can get heavy and rip your gutters right off your house. The reason our homes stay so dry is that gutters keep water away from vulnerable areas like doors and windows so make sure your gutters are flowing properly.
A clogged gutter allows water to spill over the sides and pour down your walls. The water collects and sits around your foundation where it can cause erosion, which weakens the foundation, leading to cracks and settling. Cracked foundations are common during the winter when standing water around your house freezes. Cracked foundations threaten the integrity of your entire home and can cause flooding in the basement. Taking the short amount of time out of your day to check your gutters is not that hard a task, considering how much money just a peek could save you.
The first tool you will need is a step ladder. If your roof is too tall for a step ladder then use an extension ladder. Make sure it is sturdy and never stand on the top two rungs of the ladder. It is also wise to have a spotter hold the ladder in case it falls or you kick it over at the top. Wear gloves and long sleeves because it could get messy. You can use a trowel or your hands to scoop the rotting leaf litter out. After the clog has been removed, use a hose to wash out any leftover debris and ensure that water is draining away from your home properly.
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