gutter cleaning

What Happens if You Don’t Clean Your Gutters?

The gutters sit to the side of the roof meaning they are often overlooked as part of roofing maintenance. But this is a mistake because the gutters are essential to your roof’s longevity and performance. The position and shape of gutters make it easy for debris to collect. Too much debris prevents the gutters from removing water away from the roof. Cleaning your gutters is essential and the best way to avoid several serious problems.

1) Mold and Mildew: Decaying leaves are ideal for mold and mildew. If the water also collects among dead leaves, mold and mildew can grow even faster. If mold is allowed to spread it can begin to feed on other organic materials such as the wood in your building. This impacts the stability and structure.

2) Water Damage: Any time lower levels of a building have flooding or water damage, the culprit is usually a clogged gutter. Too much debris prevents proper water flow away from the building, so it overflows which can potentially cost you a lot of damage and money.

3) Cosmetic Damage: Water that collects can seep into the building materials and ruin the soffits and fascia. Your roofline will become damaged and energy costs can also increase as this impacts the roof’s ventilation, heating, and cooling.

4) Wasted Landscape Material: This is more of an annoyance but can be an expensive fix. If you have invested a great deal in your landscaping, cleaning your gutters is an essential part of protecting this investment. Heavy rains can easily overflow clogged drains, and all the excess water can wash away your sod and erode topsoil.

5) Freezing Water: A clogged drain filled with water and low temperatures is a recipe for disaster. Collected water can freeze in cold weather creating water dams. These dams are heavy and overload the gutters, potentially causing them to collapse. As water freezes and thaws, it also increases pressure on the gutter which can cause cracks and damage.

6) Infestation: Ignoring your gutters allows debris to collect. Rain and collected water mix with this debris to create the perfect breeding ground for insects. The standing water is especially ideal for mosquitoes. Once mosquitoes and other insects decide to hang around, rodents and other creatures can be attracted to the roof which is both a nuisance and a health hazard.

How to Keep Your Gutters Clean?

It is important to check your gutters and to follow a regular cleaning schedule in order to best prevent the serious complications mentioned above. A proper gutter cleaning schedule should include the following steps.

Step 1: Clear Debris From the Gutters

You need two buckets, one for the debris and the other for the tools you need. Start cleaning near a downspout and place your ladder on level ground. Using your hands, remove all debris from the downspout strainer and then move on to any larger debris. Then you will use a trowel or gutter scoop to remove any compacted debris.

Step 2: Flush the Gutters

After most of the debris is removed, flush the remaining dirt using a garden hose. Simply fit your garden hose with a spray nozzle and then flush out the gutter. Make sure you start at the far end and move toward the downspout.

Step 3: Check the Downspouts

The water that you used to flush the gutters should be draining. If not, you need to check the downspout for clogs. Turn on your hose and spray down the spout. If you notice that the amount of water coming out is less than what is going in, you can be sure that you have a blockage. To remove a blockage front the downspout, feed your hose up from the ground, turn it on at full pressure, and the clog should become dislodged.

Step 4:  Final Check

Once the downspout is clear of debris and clogs, flush the gutters a final time. Make sure the water flow is right and look along the seams for any possible leaks. Double-check that the gutters are secure and in place as you individually inspect each section for damage.

Step 5: Complete Cleaning

If you find any leaks in the seams or joints, seal them right away with a gutter sealant. You can also use a pressure washer to remove any mildew and dirt that may have become lodged at a cracked seam or joint.