When your child or grandchild draws a picture of a house — maybe your house — what kinds of details do they include? The color of your door? Maybe some flowers in front or a car in the driveway? Maybe the windows even have curtains. What’s probably not there? Gutters.
Though they line the perimeter of your roof, gutters are overlooked by child and adults too. Yet they do so much for us in our ongoing efforts to keep our homes clean and well-maintained. Everytime a storm hits, gutters on the home stop the land below it from during into a wet swamp, and they move the water safely to a storm drain or at least near one.
Your gutters are doing a lot to protect your home and keep it safe, so you in turn should be doing the same. In a way, gutters are the unsung heroes of the house. Her’s why gutter maintenance is so important and how regular gutter cleaning services can keep them in good condition.
What happens when gutters are neglected
Let’s face it: Home upkeep can be expensive and time consuming. Out of all the places to cut corners, is it okay to let your gutters get a little clogged from time to time? Is it really the end of the world if the gutter is pulled just a little too far from the house? How much damage can a little extra rainwater on your property do anyway?
A lot, to be honest.
This goes back to what the primary function of your gutters actually is: to protect the foundation of your home. As you probably remember from third-grade science classes, water can erode soil and rock overtime, whether it’s a stream (see: Grand Canyon) or a slow drip. Now your property is already subjected to water whenever it rains, but your foundation gets a break because of the gutters than catch and redirect the water to a storm drain, rainwater barrel or elsewhere. This prevents your foundation from eroding, which would cause untold amounts of damage to your home if it ever happened.
But the foundation is just the start of protection. All that moisture dripping onto the foundation would almost certainly find its way into your basement where it can cause even more damage. Not only can all that water cause your basement to flood, but it can also cause perpetual dampness in your basement.
Dampness may not seem like such a big deal, but it can be a big attraction for other pests. Mold, for example, loves damp, dark spaces, especially basements. In such tight, enclosed spaces where mold spores can be released, the air can turn toxic if you have allergies and cause other respiratory illnesses among your family members.
When you have mold in your insulation or on your wood, it can rot both materials, cause serious structural damage to your home. Mold enclosed behind drywall can be tough to spot and even tougher to get rid of. It can eat away at the structure of the home before anyone notices, and removing it all can be expensive and time consuming. Mold spores spread through the air, so they can reattach and spawn without notice. In basements that are almost perpetually damp, it can be tough get rid of mold completely.
Other pests can find their way into your basement if it’s damp. Termites, the enemy of wooden frames everywhere, thrive in damp spaces. They will usually build mud tunnels that lead from their nest, which is underground, to food sources and the outside. Often, tunnels will lead directly to food sources like wood in a basement. If termites find their way in and begin eating away at your foundation, then you will need to call in an expert to get rid of them.
Apart from your foundation and basement, your gutters also protect your sidealk, driveway and patio from soil erosion. Imagine if there was a stream of water floring down along the sides of your driveway. The soil below it would start to erode and shift, which could damage the concrete or even make your patio unsafe.
But damamge to the home is one thing, but broken or clogged cutters can also cause diseases to spread around your home via mosquito.
Mosquitoes lay their eggs near standing water, and when gutters are clogged, the water collects and remains stagnant. This creates the perfect breeding ground for mosquitos: plenty of water and higher up so it’s less likely that humans or other animals will disturb their eggs. When those eggs hatch, that’s when the trouble can begin.
Not only are mosuitoes annoying pests that can ruin an outdoor barbeque, but they’re also carriers of disease such as West Nile Virus. Now 80% of West Nile Virus cases have no symptoms, but in rare cases, patients develop a terrible flu that can leave them feeling lethargic for months. For elderly people or those with compromised immune systems, West Nile can be fatal.
But all that water collecting in the gutter will spill when it gets to be too full, and if it continually spills on the same spot, the water can start rotting the wooden frame of your home. This can also cause holes to form in the frame and create an entrance for pests, who will want to enter your warm, cozy attic for the winter.
So as you can see, gutters play a vital role in keeping your home in good condition, and they can also protect your family from diseases and pests. You really risk neglecting your gutters, so if you haven’t taken a look at them for some time, then you’d best go get your ladder.
How to maintain your gutters
When it comes to gutter maintenance, being aware of your surroundings is the best first step. You don’t need to climb up a ladder every day to look at them, but you do need to be observant of your own property. You should be walking around your property regularly and looking for signs of damage to your gutters. You might notice that one side is starting to hang farther away from the house or maybe some debris is clogged and weighing one section of it down. You don’t need to be an expert in gutter cleaning services to notice these problems. It’s all about what is normal and what is not.
One small thing you can do for your gutters is be mindful about the trees around them. After all, trees don’t run up and dump their leaves in your gutter. Nearby leaves are falling off them and floating down into your gutter.
If you’re thinking about planting trees near your home, consider planting them far away enough so the leaves won’t fall into the gutter at all. Of course, you don’t want to take down trees — especially large ones — just to avoid a little extra work, but you should be trimming your trees so leaves and sticks don’t get caught in your gutter.
You can also install gutter guards along your roofline to prevent debris from getting caught in your gutters. Gutter guards have holes large enough to catch rainwater but still small enough to block leaves and sticks. You can find all different types of gutter guards at your local hardware store. Some mesh guards come in a roll and can be cut into strips, which are then wedged under the roofline and stretched across the gutter. Other surface-tension guards cover the gutter while allowing water to slip over the rounded nose and into the gutter while leaves and other debris slide right off.
Mesh guards are fairly easy to install, but they will take damage from UV rays. Surface-tension guards, while long lasting, can be difficult to install, and you may have to order them from a general contractor. You might need to hire someone to install them, and you may even have to rearrange your gutters to make them fit.
Now you can clean out your gutters on your own, but it can be a bit of a hassle. For one thing, you need all of the equipment — a ladder tall enough to reach every part of your gutters, rubber gloves to scoop out debris, a hose long enough to reach the highest points of your gutter and plastic bins or trash bags to collect all of that debris that you drop on the ground.
It’s not always easy to clean your gutters by yourself. Even if you do have a tall enough ladder to reach all parts of your gutter, you will have to move the ladder around your home to get rid of all the debris. This can be time-consuming and dangerous. One fall from a ladder can result in a broken wrist or ankle, which could put you in bed for weeks. If you’re like many people who can’t afford the time to be stuck in bed, then you’ll want to avoid any injury like this.
Cleaning your own gutters can also be very time-consuming, and if you have to do this job on the weekends, then it is eating into your valuable relaxing time. You may know that your gutter is clogged in some place, but you may not know exactly where. That means before you can even begin cleaning, you first need to find the source of the problem, and if you’ve got a big home — as many in Houston do — that can mean you spend a lot of time moving your ladder around your home.
The actual cleaning part of cleaning a clogged gutter usually doesn’t take too long if the clog is smaller and only in one spot. But just because you find one clogged spot doesn’t mean that there aren’t others in other spots along your gutter. You may end up spending several weekends dragging out your ladder, finding debris, clearing it and then mistakenly thinking that was the last one — until it rains again and the water still isn’t flowing out of your gutter.
Why gutter cleaning services are so beneficial
Let’s face it: No one actually likes having to clean out their gutters. But if you want to protect your home and keep it in good condition, the regular gutter cleanings are essential, especially if you have large trees surrounding it.
Rather than try to do all this work yourself, it is much easier to schedule gutter cleaning services in Houston to do all the heavy lifting for you. For most homes, gutter cleaning should be done once in the spring and once in the fall, but when your have gutter cleaning services scheduled in advance, you don’t have to give up your weekends. Experts in gutter cleaning services will come out to your home, complete the work to your satisfaction and clean up when finished. This leaves you free to relax by the TV, hang out with your family or indulge in your favorite hobby.
Having an expert in gutter cleaning services also ensures that your gutters get the five-star treatment. Experts have cleaned hundreds of gutters, so they know how to spot problems and fix them. They may be able to make good recommendations about how to keep your gutters in better condition.
Experts also have all the equipment needed to do the job. Companies that offer gutter cleaning services have ladders to reach any height, and they train their employees to be efficient and well-versed in the best techniques.
Going through all the work of cleaning your own gutters can be draining, so the next time you notice a lack of rainwater coming out of your gutter spout, don’t run for the ladder. Call an expert in gutter cleaning services and get the job done right the first time.
Tell us: What part of gutter cleaning do you hate most? Share your thoughts with us in the comments and let us know how our gutter cleaning services can help you today.