July 7, 2021
Gutters and downspouts are essential for draining water away from a property. When gutters are clogged, however, the intended drainage path is blocked and water overflows, often going into the property. This can cause a variety of property damage issues, including some as severe as a structural failure.
Clogged gutters can cause roof and foundation flooding problems without effective and regular cleaning, debris and silt will build up in your guttering and cause blockages in your drainage system. Water then overflows and runs against exterior walls and onto the foundation of your property. Over time, this softens the soil around your house, which can compromise the integrity of your foundation, leading to cracks and eventual structural failure.
In the shorter term, water seepage from clogged guttering can lead to mold. As water and moisture permeate through your walls, mold spores and bacteria can begin growing on the wet materials. This not only damages your property, but it can also cause health issues for you and your family.
Roof leaks can also result from clogged gutters, especially over winter, when frozen precipitation accumulates on and against the house for long periods of time. If clogged gutters and downspouts prevent melting snow and ice from draining, wall and roof material becomes saturated, causing water to leak into ceilings and interior spaces. Snow and ice melt can also refreeze and form ice dams around the roof and gutters where water would typically drain.
Accumulated debris in your gutters may also attract unwanted wildlife and pests. Wet, organic materials, such as leaves and twigs, serve as a prime source of food and shelter for insects and small rodents. If critters are attracted to the outside of your house, they’re also more likely to try finding a way into your house.
To avoid these unwanted effects, it’s helpful to understand the cleaning and protective measures you can take to properly care for your gutters.
Spring Maintenance guide How to Clean Gutters
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To protect your property from damage caused by dirty gutters, you should clean your guttering twice a year: once in spring and once in fall.
The number of times you need to clean your gutters each year will vary depending on where you live. For example, if you have a high number of overhanging branches, or are surrounded by pine trees, you might want to consider cleaning your gutters every three months, due to the higher volume of debris falling into your guttering system.
Pools of water collecting near your house, especially around the foundations
Dripping gutters in dry weather
Regularly cleaning your gutters will not only protect your house but help your guttering last longer. A well-maintained guttering system can stay intact and in working order for over twenty years.
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