Why Gutter Cleaning is an Important Home Maintenance

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  • Mark Hladky
  • Gutters are an important part of your home.  They serve both an aesthetic and a practical purpose.  In addition to accenting the roof, gutters help protect your house from nearly all types of water damage.  As such, making sure that your home’s gutters are clean is imperative.  Gutters’ value cannot be overstated.  Often, they are your home’s first line of defense against weather damage.  The following will tell you what you need to know about gutter cleaning maintenance.

     

    What Having Clean Gutters Prevents:

    Clean gutters help to protect the entire house from weather damage.  When they are clean, gutters allow for quick drainage from the roof.  This drainage means cracks and leaks are less likely to form in the roof.  If gutters are not cleaned, gallons of water can sit in the bottom of the gutters, and the total weight of this water can be literally hundreds of pounds.  If gutters are clogged with leaves, ice dams are likely to form in the winter, and these dams of ice prevent drainage and can add even more weight to your roof and gutters.  However, what might be most important to note is that gutters protect the foundation of the house.  By carrying water away from the foundation, the soil around the house and the foundation is protected, and so the foundation and the walls will be less susceptible to stress cracks.

     

    What tools do I need to clean my gutters?

    Safety should be the highest priority for all home maintenance tasks, and gutter cleaning is no different.  You will need eye protection, a face mask to protect against particulate matter, gloves, and a towel to dry your hands, your ladder, or your standing area on your roof.  Additionally, you will need a bucket, and you may decide to use gutter scrapes, rakes, power washers, and hoses with triggers.  If you plan on using a hose, make sure it has a trigger to reduce the chance of spraying unintended areas with water and protect yourself from slipping.

     

    When should I clean my gutters?

    The general rule is to clean gutters twice a year, once in late fall and once in late spring.  These times of the year are when leaves are mostly likely to fall.  Do not try to clean gutters when the temperature is below freezing or if it has recently snowed.  Climbing a ladder on ground made unstable by snow or walking on a roof made slippery by ice is dangerous.

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