6 Reasons You Should Really Clean Those Gutters
Cleaning the gutters can easily be the chore that we most often overlook. It really shouldn’t be, since overlooking something this simple can result in serious damage to your home. When you are walking around your yard during the spring cleanup or the fall preparations, pick up the leaves and branches from the ground and then LOOK UP. Those same leaves and branches probably landed on your roof and in your gutters too. To prevent major home maintenance problems down the line, take the time twice a year to give your gutters the attention that they deserve.
What happens if you ignore your home’s gutters?
First off, gutters are easy to overlook being out of sight and out of mind. If they are not properly maintained organic muck and debris will build up causing:
1. Damage to your roof and fascia wood from rain and snow.
2. Small trees and ferns to take root.
3. Water to spill over and wash away landscaping.
4. Wood rot around windows and doors.
5. Stain siding.
6. Cracks in the foundation.
How to keep your gutters clean
Regular maintenance in the fall and early spring will help keep your gutters functioning properly (and you won’t risk growing small trees). Think carefully about whether you want to perform this task yourself or to hire a professional. The height of your roof and ladder safety are significant factors in making the decision to let someone else do the work. Another option is to have gutter guards installed to prevent leaves and branches from even getting caught in the first place. This can be expensive in the short term, but lower your home maintenance costs in the long term.
• Make sure there are no trees or tall shrubs growing over your house. This will cut down on the amount of debris in the gutters.
• Wear heavy gloves and eye protection.
• Make sure that you have a sturdy ladder.
• Use a bucket to gather and lower down the muck.
• Be careful to not put too much weight on the gutters as they are often unstable.
• Secure your hose to the gutter so that you can keep it with you.
• Flush the gutters with running water to make sure that water flows free through the downspout.
If you hire a professional
Not everyone is willing or able to climb a ladder twice a year to take care of the gutters. If you decide to have someone else do the work, first make sure that you have the proper homeowner’s insurance to cover any accidental injury and if you hire a professional service make sure that they are also appropriately insured. Also ask about their cleaning methods. Some companies simply use a leaf blower and leave you with all of the debris while others take the time to bag and remove the organic material.
Twice a year, take the time to look UP and clean OUT.