Why is Gutter Cleaning Necessary?
Gutter cleaning helps prevent water damage to your building’s foundation, walls, fascia board and interior. It also helps to avoid costly roof repairs and pest invasions.
Gutters filled with debris are nesting grounds for rats, ants, termites and mosquitoes that spread deadly diseases. Cleaning your gutters on a regular basis eliminates these pests.
The most common gutter clogging culprit is wet, decomposing leaves. Cleaning out your gutters with a leaf blower before they completely fill up will keep them in working order. Depending on your home’s location and landscape, you may need to clean your gutters twice a year.
Taking the time to clear out organic debris before it decomposes will also prevent the attraction of flies. These insects are drawn to the moisture and food found in clogged gutters. If the flies are allowed to breed, their offspring will enter your home through leaky roofs and unsealed windows.
While you’re on a ladder, it’s best to wear heavy-duty work gloves and rubber soled shoes for traction. Having a friend or family member stand at the base of the ladder can help ward off accidents as you teeter on the platform. You may want to also bring a bucket or tarp to catch all the debris you remove.
The spouts on your gutter system are designed to carry water away from the house, but if tree branches hang over the roof and gutters, they can block these openings. They also increase the likelihood of clogs, especially in the fall.
If you have pine trees near your home, they drop a constant volume of needles that can build up and clog the gutters. Even if you install a mesh cover that prevents leaves from getting in, it won’t stop the needles.
Branches that are overhanging your roof and gutters may not only cause clogs, but they can also damage the outer layer of the roofing. This could expose the granules on asphalt shingles and the protective coating on metal roofs to the elements, which can lead to deterioration and premature wear. Trimming overhanging branches will help protect your gutters and roof, but this can be a challenging (and dangerous) task to do on your own.
Gutters are designed to help rainwater flow away from a home. When gutters are clogged, they become less effective and may cause water to seep through the roof or flood rooms inside the house. Regular cleaning of gutters helps them function as intended.
Keeping gutters clean also protects the appearance of the home. When dirt is allowed to accumulate, it can stain the siding and deteriorate the appearance of roof shingles. Regular gutter cleaning prevents these problems from occurring.
To clean dirt from a gutter, start by climbing a ladder and removing large debris such as leaves and twigs with a garden trowel or gutter scoop. Then, use a garden hose with a spray nozzle that allows for pressure adjustments and flush out the remaining debris. Begin at one end of the gutter and work toward the downspout, directing the stream of water away from the roof to avoid spraying the shingles. A specialized gutter cleaning attachment for the hose is also available.
Gutter cleaning is not only necessary to keep your home safe, it’s also essential for the prevention of pest infestation. Gutter systems are designed to channel rainwater away from the house, but if they become clogged they can cause water to back up under the roof or down the sides of the home. This leads to rotting wood and structural damage.
A clogged gutter system can also attract stinging insects, such as bees and hornets. This is because they like the warm and moist conditions that a clogged gutter can provide.