Gutters on homes are easy to forget. They are above eye level and not that easy to inspect. So, as long as they don’t fall off the house, spring leaks, or overflow with debris and plant life, homeowners don’t pay that much attention to them. But, gutter systems that are neglected will need to be replaced far sooner than those that receive regular inspections and cleaning. There are at least seven signs of problems homeowners can see when standing on the ground that the gutters need professional attention.
Why Homeowners Need To Keep Gutters Clean and in Good Condition
Even though gutters may be less visible than windows, doors, roofing, or siding, they play an important part in home maintenance and protection. A working gutter system catches the water running off the home’s roof during rainstorms and directs it safely away from the home’s siding, windows, and foundation to prevent damage. The gutters direct rainwater away from the home foundation and prevent basement leaks and foundation damage.
When a person purchases an existing home with no gutters, missing gutter sections, or gutters in poor condition, it is important to have a new gutter system installed and then maintain that gutter system with yearly inspections and cleanings, depending on the number of leaves, small branches, or other debris that accumulate. This is where a gutter cleaning professional can be very useful.
Good gutter cleaning services do more than just clean gutters. Homeowners can hire a gutter cleaning company to clean gutters, clean gutter downspouts, repair gutter seams and other parts, reattach separated gutters to the house, pressure wash gutters, and replace the whole gutter system. The experts will do all these jobs and clean up any mess when they are done.
How Often Do Gutters Need Cleaning?
There are several factors to consider in deciding how often to have the home’s gutters inspected by a professional or by the DIY homeowner. Are the gutters new or in good condition? Are there trees near the home, and are there branches overhanging the roof and gutters? Are there trees near the home that are taller than the roofline? How often does it rain? These factors will make a difference in how often the gutters should be inspected.
The gutters on homes with nearby trees should be inspected in the spring and fall. Other homes may only need an inspection every couple of years.
Look For These 7 Signs That Gutters Need Professional Attention
In addition to trees in the yard and numerous rain storms in the area, there are signs of problems a homeowner can see when walking around the house looking up at the gutter and down at the home’s foundation. Look for these signs:
· Bent and dented gutters as well as visible holes, cracks, or rusted areas on gutters are all things that impact how gutters function. This damage makes the gutters unattractive and ineffective.
· Gutters that have nails protruding or falling out or missing. Nails or screws accumulate on the ground under gutters. Loose or missing nails and screws mean a gutter is not firmly attached to the roofline and can fall off the house if not repaired.
· Areas of gutters that are pulling away from the house or sagging mean future trouble. These gutters, when filled with debris or water, can fall off the house, damaging the siding and the roof edge they are attached to.
· The gutters overflow during rainstorms, are unable to handle the water running off the roof, leak at seams, or have rusted areas. Gutters that are not handling rainwater need to be repaired or replaced with more effective gutters.
· Visible plant life growing in the gutters or insects and small animals living in the gutters. When gutters have enough debris in them to form homes for plants, trees, insects, or small animals, they need immediate attention. Gutters this full are not handling the runoff they are supposed deal with and have been neglected.
· Visible staining or damage to a home’s siding under gutters means the gutters are not handling the water runoff from the roof and are allowing it to run down the siding, damaging it. The water can also be damaging window trim and infiltrating the home’s walls.
· Basement flooding during heavy rain storms or water accumulating next to the home’s foundation means the gutter system is not directing the water away from the house as it should. The gutter system may need to be updated with better downspouts to provide drainage away from the house. Water accumulating around the home’s foundation exerts pressure that can cause foundation cracks and allow water to enter the basement.
What are the Top Gutter Cleaning Methods?
There are several gutter cleaning methods, with some being better than others. Walking on the roof and cleaning the gutters is not advised because of the chance of falling or damaging the roof. More acceptable methods include using a ladder to reach the gutters or cleaning them from the ground using hoses, blowers, vacuum systems, etc.
Professional gutter cleaning companies such as Guru Gutter Cleaning have special trucks with equipment to literally vacuum the home’s gutters clean. This leaves no mess behind and is done from ground level. No ladders are required. The gutter cleaning experts can clean gutters on one-story, two-story, and even three-story homes with this special equipment. Gutter cleaning goes quickly, saving the homeowner time and mess.
Gutters can be cleaned by climbing a ladder and scooping out debris by hand, blowing out debris with pressure and air like a leaf blower with attachments, or with pressurized water. Those methods are followed by usiing a hose and water to finish the cleaning process.
Gutters can be cleaned from ground level with special gutter cleaning attachments for a hose, pressure washer, or shop-type wet or dry vacuum. The companies that use vacuum-type gutter cleaning equipment have special trucks and stronger suction than would be available to homeowners.
The DIY homeowner can use the above methods to clean their own gutters if they have the time and don’t mind doing this very messy and labor-intensive job. If the gutters are cleaned often or are in an area that does not have a lot of tree debris to worry about, the job will be easier. When the homeowner cleans their own gutters, they must protect the area below the gutters from the water and debris removed from the gutters.