When should you have your gutters cleaned?

gutters full of algae and leaves

If your home has rain gutters, do you realize the importance of them?

They aren’t just for a finishing touch to your home’s exterior décor. Nor are they to give you a chore of gutter cleaning every three months. They serve an important purpose, and we are going to discuss the importance of gutter cleaning and why gutter cleaning and repairs are so important.

Rain gutters are a water management system that channels the  water flow from the roof and through the downspouts, then directs it to pre-determined appropriate areas out and away from your home. A roof that doesn’t have a rain gutter system will pick up debris like leaves, limbs, and more which will cause the water to collect on the roof, sticking that debris to the roof, form algae, and start deteriorating the shingles. Gutter cleaning is important so that they don’t become clogged up and create even bigger issues.

What happens if you never clean your gutters?

The gutters are your home are important to the overall roofing system. If they are maintained though with regular gutter cleaning and repairs, your home won’t benefit from them. In fact, you home will become susceptible to damage that can become severe quick. Here are ten possible problems that can be created when you ignore gutter cleaning:

One: A Flooded Basement

Clogged gutters will overflow with water and run down the exterior sides of your home, working its way into the basement. This can result in a flooded basement, once you have dealt with that, you’ll understand why gutter cleaning is so important.

Two: The Foundation

What if you don’t have a basement? Maybe you have a crawl space, or your home is on a slab foundation. An overflowing gutter system will damage the foundation as the clay, dirt, or sand under your home becomes too wet. The foundation will buckle, crack, and shift. For a pier-n-beam house, the standing water will deteriorate the piers, weakening it and causing it to shift and the floor to become weak.

Three: Destroy the Driveway

As the water comes off your roof, with a gutter system in place to redirect it to safer areas, the water will collect under the driveway and create the do the same damage as it does the crawl space or foundation of your home.  Buckling, cracking, holes and shifting, making your driveway a hazard to cars and creating a tripping hazard.

Four: Landscaping Destroyed

Without a gutter system or when gutter cleaning is ignored, a heavy rain will fill the gutters and the water will overflow, running into and over the landscaping. Your mulch will wash away and the flowers and shrubs will be severely damaged.

Five: Ice Damage

When gutter cleaning is skipped, the gutters become clogged, then as the temperature drops below freezing, the rain freezes and forms ice, causing issues like pulling the gutters away and off, allowing the water to overflow and freeze on the deck, driveway, porch, or sidewalks.

Six: Critters and Pests

Gutter cleaning will eliminate standing water in the gutters and avoid creating a breeding ground for small critters, insects, pests, and rodents.

Seven: Damages by Water

When you skip a gutter cleaning, the gutters will become full and overflow with water that will then run down the exterior sides, finding its way eventually inside your home. Because that water will be behind the siding, inside the window frames or under the flooring, you may not notice it until significant damage has been done.

Eight:  Damaged Fascia & Soffits

Standing water is heavy and the weight of that when combined with the debris that is clogging the gutter system will damage the fascia and soffits. This creates cracks that allow water inside your home.

Nine: Algae, Lichen, ad  Moss

No, that isn’t the name of a punk rock band. Algae, lichen, and moss grow and thrive in damp places and when a gutter cleaning hasn’t been done, this becomes the perfect place for them to form and grow. This will create an ugly façade for your home as it damaged the roofing.

Ten: Damage the Roof

When gutter cleaning isn’t done, there are several ways that the standing water in the gutters can damage the roof, starting with the shingles being damaged as they are sitting in water. Once the shingles are saturated, the decking is damaged and if that isn’t detected soon enough, the attic insulation will get wet, soaking into the rooms below.  

Can I clean my gutters myself? and What is the fastest way to clean gutters?

Absolutely, but you’ll need to purchase some gutter cleaning tools or design a way to use what you have for a thorough gutter cleaning process. Professional gutter cleaning services are equipped with the gutter cleaning rods and other equipment needed, but many homeowners do their own gutter cleaning and repairs with successful results. 

As for the fastest way for gutter cleaning, we first want to advise you to extreme caution as you climb the ladder and work from high areas of the rooftop.  Three of the easiest and fastest ways to clean your gutter system:

  • A Leaf Blower: With a leaf blower, you can avoid using your hands for gutter cleaning. This is a straightforward method when you climb onto the roof, and walk along the roof edge, and blow the leaves out of the gutters. With an extension kit, this method becomes safer as you use the curved extension and clear the gutter run from the ground with your leaf blower.
  • A Power Washer: If a storm blows through before you do your gutter cleaning, you can clear the sticky and wet leaves with power washer. The high-pressure force and a telescoping wand will allow you to complete a gutter cleaning from the ground. Afterward, clean the areas around your home with gloved hands and a rake.
  • A Wet/Dry Vacuum: Avoid making the mess on the ground with your easy and fast gutter cleaning method by using a wet/dry vac. You can purchase an extension kit that will allow you to do this from the ground instead of climbing a ladder while bringing a wet/dry vac up with you.

How do I know if my downspout is clogged?

A clogged gutter downspout will trap the water in the gutter system, causing it to overflow over the sides, this is an obvious indication of a blocked downspout. You can also have someone assist you as you climb a ladder with a water hose that has a power nozzle. Have the turn the water on and place the hose in the gutter system. If little to no water is coming out, you have a clogged downspout.

leaves fallen into a gutter

How do you unclog a gutter?

If the power of a nozzle water hose doesn’t unclog the gutter and downspout, a handheld drum auger will do the trick. You can purchase this auger at any big box home improvement store or hardware store for under $50 or a 25-foot unit.

Gutter cleaning isn’t something any of us want to do on a Saturday afternoon. However, with an investment as valuable as your home, these are things that are necessary. If gutter cleaning isn’t your thing, there are plenty of services that can do this task for you. Call 513-563-9988 today for gutter cleaning in Cincinnati, OH.