Cleaning the gutters of a property is no one’s idea of a good time, but it is undoubtedly worth doing for a number of reasons, which range from pest infestation prevention to foundation protection. If this sounds a little dramatic, you should keep in mind that your gutters are a huge part of the system that keeps water from swamping the perimeter of your home whenever there is a serious deluge.
5 Avoidable Problems Caused by Clogged Gutters
These common problems are not only avoidable; they are most often caused (at least in part) by clogged or damaged gutters.
Sinking or Cracked Foundations
One of the most insidious and dangerous repercussions of blocked gutters and excessive standing water around your home is foundational damage. Settlement and sinking are the most common issues, but excess hydrostatic pressure and frost heave can also be pressing issues depending on the season. Once your foundations are damaged, water will begin to seep up into your basement.
Broken Gutters or Downspouts
If the weight of blockages and standing water, or even ice if the winter is hard (as they can be in Baltimore), becomes too much your gutters can begin to bend, buckle or even pull away from your home. After all, a gallon of water weighs around eight pounds.
Wall and Ceiling Damage
When your gutters are clogged, water will begin to back up on your roof, especially in winter when the water and debris in your gutters can freeze. Trapped water can seep under the shingles on your roof when ice dams form or rot the fascia boards your gutters are mounted on. The result in either case is water entering your home from above. This can be subtle at first, but in the most severe cases, it can lead to the collapse of sections of your roof or ceilings.
Blocked or clogged gutters can provide the perfect nesting sites and breeding grounds for many pests including wasps and mosquitos. The damp leaves and mulch that are often found in gutters are perfect nesting material, and stagnant standing water is notoriously welcoming for mosquito larvae. Once these critters make a home in your gutters, you will have a hard time shifting them safely without professional help.
Flooded or Damp Basements and Crawl Spaces
When you have blocked gutters and downspouts water will begin to overspill and pool by the perimeter of your home. This could mean flooding in your window wells, or in the worst case, inside your basement depending on the health of your walls and foundations. If you have uncovered crawl space vents, you will definitely experience crawl space flooding.
As you can see, there are quite a few reasons you should bite the bullet and get the ladder out. Some of these problems are very expensive to fix, but thankfully they are easy to avoid; all you have to do is clean out your gutters.
Cleaning Your Gutters – What You Need to Know
The most important thing to do when cleaning gutters is to have basic safety precautions in place. Wear gloves, safety goggles and long sleeves to protect against cuts and bacteria. You should also ensure that your ladder is placed on flat, solid ground and that there is someone else nearby in case of emergency. Secondly, you should have the proper tools on hand. To properly clean out your gutters, you will need a scooping tool, a bucket or trash bag for debris, and your garden hose to flush the systems.
Above and beyond all this, however, you should be mindful of your capabilities. If the job is too big for you or you find, for example, a wasp nest, it may be best to call in professionals. While it may seem unnecessary to have professional help for such a simple task, it is far better to pay a small fee to have your gutters cleaned quickly, safely and efficiently than it is to risk your health by trying to save money.
If you are looking for a cost-effective gutter cleaning service, please contact JES Foundation Repair today. We offer free initial inspection appointments and have years of experience. Not only will we ensure your gutters are clean and clear, but we will also be able to spot warning signs on your roof before any small issues escalate.