Plenty of homeowners are aware that they need gutters, mostly because all homes have gutters. Aside from this, many will brush off the maintenance required to keep their gutters in working condition. In Autumn, leaves begin to fall and clog up the gutter. All the more reason to learn about gutter health. As the saying goes, get your mind out of the gutter, and discover why you need them and how to take care of them yourself.
First off, what do gutters actually do to protect your home?
Mainly, they prevent water damage. Gutters catch rain water from the roof and move it away from the house to a safer location.
What would happen if this water is not moved?
Over time, you would see an increase in:
· Rusting of metal components to the exterior of the home
· Rotting, swelling, and splitting wood
· Cracked house foundation (frost heaves)
· Flooded basements and interior damage
· Mold on the insulation of the home
As you continue to neglect the state of your gutters, they will rust and become virtually useless. Once the gutters are no longer doing their job, these damages will occur more quickly than you’d think. Aside from physical damage, this will make any house look awful! Moisture in the house causes black mold, which can cause severe respiratory problems. Aside from the price of good health, you’ll be paying for more doctor’s visits for sure.
The cost of a new gutter system is approximately $7 per linear foot. Make that 200 feet of a new gutter system, and you are looking at at least $1,400 in price. On top of all that, now you’ll need repairs to the house for your neglect. On average, the cost of new siding is $3,000-$5,000, foundation fixes can cost upwards of $10,000, and having a person come to pump the water of your basement could be up to $2,000. If your house hasn’t already fallen apart, you’ll be paying about $17,400 in repairs for not taking the couple hours out of your Sunday to clean the gutters. And if you're not comfortable cleaning them on your own, you can always reach out to us and we'll take care of your gutter cleaning needs.
In any event, please avoid this, and clean your dang gutters!
Okay. So how do you clean them yourself?
1. Put on clothes you don’t care about and wear gloves (this isn’t going to be pretty)
2. Get a ladder with ladder “horns” to avoid damaging the gutter
3. Use a scooper to scoop the gunk out of the gutter
4. Do not dump this stuff on the lawn (it will create brown patches)
5. Flush the gutter using a hose to check for clogged spots and clean the space. For a heavy duty clean, rent a pressure washer for this.
How often should this be done?
Experts say that this should be done at least two times a year, preferably in late spring and early fall. This is because spring usually produces the most rainfall and fall clogs the gutters with leaves. You should also inspect your gutters every 3 months if possible, as the amount of maintenance needed depends on the amount of precipitation and foliage where the house is located.
So there you have it. Now you know how and when to clean your gutters, as well as what will happen if you choose not to take care of them. Best of luck! (And if you'd like some help with gutter maintenance, we're here to help.)