Gutters are easy to overlook. They aren’t readily visible in your line of sight, and it’s impossible to know the full extent of their condition without climbing a ladder for closer inspection. It’s an important task, but unfortunately, it is also one that may frequently slip your mind. Still, remembering to keep gutters free and clear of debris will go a long way in helping extend their longevity and avoiding early replacement or repairs.
When Should You Check Your Gutters?
Most experts recommend checking and cleaning gutters at least twice per year. The spring and fall are ideal, as this is when the majority of gutter-clogging leaves are falling from the trees. However, if you have several trees near your home or species such as pine that tend to shed frequently, quarterly cleanings may be in order.
How to Clean Your Gutters
When cleaning your gutters, you’ll want to ensure safety with a sturdy, extendable ladder and protective gloves. Move your ladder as necessary to reach areas comfortably without the need to stretch or lean. Use a gutter cleaning scoop or similar tool to remove all debris, and dump onto a plastic tarp or into a bag to aid in the clean-up process. Don’t forget to check the openings of downspouts for leaves and other sources of clogs as well.
Once your cleaning is complete, flush your gutters and downspouts with a hose to remove smaller materials and to check for clogs. If the water does not drain properly, it may be necessary to use a plumber’s snake tool to locate and clear any remaining blockages.
Consequences of Neglecting Gutters
Unfortunately, it doesn’t take much for a few leaves to turn into a heavy, soggy mess that can wreak havoc on your gutters. When not cleaned regularly or properly, clogs can develop and water may no longer be able to drain properly. Not only is this an ideal environment for the development of mold and mildew and a contributor to rodent and pest infestation, it also places undue strain on your roof deck and may lead to roof leaks. In turn, your roof and other exterior or interior features of your home can suffer damage that easily results in costly repairs.
Just a couple of gutter cleanings each year is generally all it takes to maintain the integrity and lifespan of not only your gutters and downspouts, but your roof as well. Concerned that you may already have existing damage due to gutter neglect? Call in a roofing contractor to conduct a complete roof inspection at your earliest convenience. Doing so will not only provide peace of mind, but it will also allow you to catch and correct problems before they result in the need for more expensive repairs.