As the winter approaches, every homeowner goes through an inevitable ritual of prepping for the cold months ahead. As a homeowner, you may ensure the heating system works, make sure the pipes are protected, install drafts around windows and doors, and do other similar tasks. That said, there’s one job that typically gets forgotten about: cleaning out the gutters.
Forgetting to do this very important task can be costly long term. Although gutters may seem insignificant, they protect vital aspects of a building, points out Windermere Management. Oftentimes, people don’t realize how important they really are.
In this article, we will explain why keeping the gutters clean is one of the most essential things you can do as a homeowner to protect your homes and save your money in the long run.
What Do Gutters Do?
The gutter system protects a building’s roof, exterior, interior and foundation from water damage. It collects water, and then directs it through the downspout and away from a property’s roof, foundation, walls and landscape.
When clogged with leaves, sticks and debris, gutters stop doing their job. Instead they start soaking-up the water, and redirecting it to the wrong parts of the property. This can create a lot of damage. Below, we list the most common types of damage caused by dirty gutters.
Negative Consequences of Unmaintained Gutters
1. Gutter, Fascia, and Bracket Damage
When debris accumulates in gutters, water gets trapped inside its channels. Over time, this becomes extremely corrosive and eats away the material that the gutter is made of.
Similar to clogged gutters, damaged gutters lead to water damage. If you catch the problem early, the damage may not extend beyond the gutter, brackets, and fascia boards. However, if you allow it to continue long enough, the damage will extend to the exterior and interior walls, and to the foundation of the building.
2. Roof Damage
If gutters are clogged, there won’t be anywhere to channel the water, and as a result, it will go directly onto the roof of a property. Rather than flow through the downspout, the water will collect in the gutters and eventually pool at the bottom of the roof.
Water is a universal solvent. This means that it is able to dissolve almost any material. In addition, with time, cracks will start to form in the shingles and the water will leak into the ceiling of the property.
Therefore, failing to clean out gutters jumpstarts a series of events that eventually lead to a damaged roof, rotted and leaky ceilings and other associated problems.
3. Weakened Foundation
Unmaintained gutters can also result in a cracked or weakened foundation. When working properly, gutters direct water away from the building’s foundation. The water is channeled to areas where it can be absorbed, and then it flows away. That said, when gutters are blocked, water drips down the sides of a building to its base and soaks into the ground.
This water then seeps into the foundation. Then, in the winter, it freezes and expands, and exerts enough force to weaken or crack the foundation. A cracked foundation makes the house unstable and can be very expensive to fix.
4. Water in the Basement
Water can be your worst nightmare, especially when it collects in the basement of your property. Clogged gutters can overflow and pool water in the basement of a home.
When there’s water in a property’s basement, there’s a long list of associated problems. Here are a few:
- Growth of mold & mildew
- Damp walls
- Softened floors
- Decaying décor, carpets and furniture
5. Pervasive Rot Problem
As a result of clogged gutters, water can drip down the sides of a building. When this happens, it can cause rotting and discoloration. Also, in the winter months, it can even cause ice dams in the siding.
6. Possibility of Pest Infestation
A collection of water caused by clogged gutters can attract insects and rodents, such as mosquitoes, termites, and other bugs. Eventually, they may find their way into the home. Additionally, birds may also build their nests in the debris that accumulates in the blocked gutter.
7. Damage to the Building’s Appearance
The visual appeal of the home is closely linked to its value. If you have clogged gutters, the overall appearance of your home won’t be as appealing. Not to mention, if you experience all the damages that arise due to clogged gutters, the appearance will also diminish.
Although you may forget about maintaining your gutters, it’s a crucial task. We hope that after reading this article, you understand the important of cleaning your gutters.
As an overview, here are the negative consequences caused by clogged gutters:
- Damaged gutter, fascia, and bracket
- Damage to the Roof
- A weakened foundation
- Water in the basement
- Possibility of pest infestation
- Diminished property appearance