Your home is a major investment, and it has the ever-important job of protecting you and your family from the harsh elements of nature–wind, rain, sleet, storms, and the debris that is created by these natural occurrences. But what keeps your home protected from these elements? There are several key parts of a structure that keep it safe, and one of the most important are your gutters. Because of this, gutter maintenance is an essential aspect of protecting your home from outdoor elements.
Gutters are a relatively small part of your home, only taking up the bottom edge of your roof; but they are very important when it comes to protecting your investment. That’s why it’s extremely important that they get a little bit of your attention every few months to ensure they’re working at peak efficiency.
Routine gutter maintenance will help to keep your gutters running smoothly and efficiently. Making sure your gutters are clean, clear, and securely fastened to your home is a top way to keep your home safe from the elements and water damage that will cost you time and money in the long run.
Why Keep Your Gutters Clean & Maintained
Homeowners may think gutter maintenance is an afterthought and not crucial to keeping a home safe and protected; but the opposite is quite true. Gutters serve the purpose of protecting your home from the elements, primarily water damage. They catch excess water during rainstorms, driving it away from areas of your home that would be particularly susceptible to water damage like windows, door frames, and the foundation.
Gutters and downspouts also serve the invaluable purpose of helping to alleviate or prevent flooding of basements and lower levels.
Gutters, since they are often the first line of defense against excess water, take a beating. They not only catch water, but also any debris that is whipped around by the wind during breezy days or harsh storms. They can collect, leaves, twigs, and other debris. This will be more of a problem if your home is located near heavily wooded areas.
Obviously, gutters cannot work as well and serve their beneficial purposes if they are clogged with debris. They can fill with debris and water and fall off the home entirely, eliminating any and all benefits for the home. Thus, cleaning them at least two times a year–perhaps more if you live in or near a lot of trees–is absolutely necessary for keeping your home safe and dry.
Ways to Clean Your Gutters
There are several ways to go about gutter maintenance and cleaning. There is always the option of hiring a handyman or roofing company to do this. This will, of course, cost money and this can get expensive if you have a large home. However, if your roof is a steep grade or you physically cannot clean your own gutters safely, then hiring someone to do it for you is absolutely the best option.
If you can safely clean your own gutters, there are several things to keep in mind in order to accomplish this safely, as well as some tips as to how to go about cleaning them.
Gutter Cleaning Tips
- If you’re using your hands to remove easily accessible debris in gutters, use thick gloves. You never know what’s mixed in with the debris and it’s better to be safe than to hurt yourself.
- Use a ladder that is level and is on a non-slip surface. Avoid reaching or leaning over the ladder because this could cause you to lose your balance and fall, or it could cause the ladder to tip over.
- Consider using a leaf blower to blow debris out of your gutter. Avoid using this if you need to extend the ladder significantly to get to your gutters. This is because leaf blowers can be a bit unwieldy, especially when you are in an already precarious position.
- Clean the gutters from the rooftop rather than a ladder. Again, only do this if you have a roof with a low grade rather than a steep one. Only walk on rooftops when they are dry, as moisture can make them very slippery.
- Another option is to use a hose with a strong water pressure to help clear out your gutters. This can be messy, though, and can cause a muddy mess on your siding or in any landscaping you may have around the outside of the house.
As with any home maintenance project, your safety is a priority. But gutter maintenance can be relatively simple after meeting a few important safety standards.
Other Gutter Maintenance Considerations
There are several other considerations you’ll want to keep in mind while cleaning your gutters. Maintenance goes well beyond just cleaning, as you want to make sure your gutters are operating at peak efficiency to ensure the best result for your home.
First of all, make sure that you repair any major (and minor) leaks in your gutters. Gutters that leak water aren’t good, useful gutters. You can check for any major holes using a hose first. Dry the area, and then thoroughly seal the leak with a caulking gun.
You’ll also want to inspect the screws or fasteners that attach the gutters to the side of the home to make sure they are secure. Gutters can be very susceptible to damage in strong Santa Ana winds, and this will help you avoid any flying debris if a thunderstorm arrives, which can be dangerous as well as damaging to people and property.
To conclude, gutter maintenance is not just about keeping your home functioning well. It is about protecting your home–your investment–from excessive water damage during rainy seasons. You’ll want to make sure you make safety a priority when cleaning and maintaining your gutters, first and foremost.
You’ll also want to be sure to clear out any clogged gutters thoroughly, as a clogged gutter cannot fulfill their true purpose. A leaf blower or hose, or even your hands, can help remove any serious clogs. Regardless of how you choose to clean out your gutters, your home will thank you for taking the time to maintain this key facet of home maintenance.