When you find your gutters on the ground after a heavy snowfall or your basement flooded when it rains, you’re in need of urgent gutter maintenance. Aside from potential damage to your roof, damaged or clogged gutters also promote mold growth on your walls and ceiling. It is, therefore, wise to maintain your gutters before they turn into a financial and safety nightmare.
However, many homeowners fail to understand the gravity of keeping their gutters clean and maintaining them. Here are fail-safe tips to keep your gutters in tiptop condition and save yourself thousands of dollars in repairs or replacement costs.
Determine How You Want to Do It
There are several ways that you can adopt to clean your gutters. Find one that best fits your preference, budget, and safety.
From the Ground
Don’t worry if you’re afraid of heights. You can still clean your gutter even when standing on the ground by running water from a garden hose with a telescopic curved hose attachment. The downside of this method is that most of the debris runs to your downspout and may cause further clogging. It is not the best method for deep cleaning your gutters. However, you can use this method to maintain your gutter.
Using a Ladder
Standing on a ladder is an excellent option to clean your gutter with a gutter pole to pull the debris toward you and scoop them out of the gutter with a gutter scoop. Get a sturdy ladder and, if possible, a harness to give you an added layer of protection. This method is best if your gutter does not have balled debris.
On the Roof
If you don’t feel very safe on the ladder, sit or stand on the roof to scoop out the debris in the gutter. Sitting on the rope is best if you have balled or wet debris in the gutter. You may also use a blower to give a quick clean if your gutter is dry. However, it is best to use a backpack blower to give you unimpeded movement.
Reasons Why You Should Clean Your Gutter
Here are the top 5 reasons why cleaning the gutter and maintaining them in pristine condition are important.
Blocked Gutters Can Damage Your Roof
The roof is an expensive investment. One way to secure your roof is to maintain the cleanliness of the gutter.
It Can Potentially Damage Your Foundation
According to home contractors, repairing your home foundation costs up to $10,000, depending on the materials used and the damage (Home Advisor). It is, therefore, better to repair your gutter than spend several thousand on repair and replacement.
Promotes Mildew Growth
Aside from damage to your gutter, mildew growth on your walls may cost thousands of dollars. Add to this amount the medical expense you’ll incur if you don’t catch the mildew infection early on. In more serious cases, black mold may even cause mold poisoning leading to serious health issues such as mood changes and memory loss.
Flooded basements result in a compromised foundation, rotting and leaking of the floor, and damage to your HVAC and heating systems. Look out for signs of basement flooding and leakages, such as water stains on the floor, mineral build-up, and cracks on the foundation.
How to Keep Your Gutters in Good Shape
These simple and time-tested tips will keep your gutters in good shape for easy maintenance:
Install a Gutter Guard
Gutter guards or gutter screens reduce the need for cleaning your gutter periodically and potentially protect your house in fire-prone areas. However, the gutter guard is not fool-proof protection. It may promote the growth of moss and algae in your gutter and put an additional strain on your roof. Also, bees and wasps are known to build their nests on gutter guards, so it is also important to give your gutters a periodic check even if you installed a gutter guard.
Winterize Your Gutters
Install heat cables to prevent damage to your gutters and downspouts from ice build-up during winter. Take it to a notch higher by using a sensor-controller model that automatically responds to temperature changes. It may cost you money but will save your house in the long run.
Check Gutter Position
Sometimes the elevation of your gutters is the primary reason for clogging because the tilt is not enough to allow the water to flow properly. On the other hand, an overly tilted gutter drains water too forcefully, damaging your lawn, roof, and home exterior. If the placement is wrong, have it refitted before it causes irreparable damage.
Trim Tree Branches
Trim tree branches that hang over your house and gutter. Aside from leaves and twigs that fall into the gutter to clog it, heavy storms may topple that tree causing damage to your roof and gutter system.
Even if you want to do a DIY cleaning for your gutters, sometimes you must accept that some jobs are too hard to do alone. Hire a professional cleaner to deep clean your gutters, then have them install a gutter guard.