Gutters help protect your home's exterior, landscaping and foundation. Unfortunately, debris like leaves and sticks can clog rain gutters. When they get clogged with debris, rainwater doesn't flow through the gutters like it should, forcing water to overflow and damage roofs and foundations. In the winter, gutter water freezes and does additional damage to roofs.
To prevent damage, learn how to clean your gutters so you can get water safely off your roof and away from your foundation.
Why You Need To Keep Your Gutters Clean
Keeping your gutters clean helps prevent your home from damage. When rainwater overflows gutters, it pours out of the gutters at the point of the clog and can damage the foundation if it continues to land in the same spot.
When gutters are clogged, pests and rodents often move in where the debris, leaves and sticks create a safe home for them. Their feces can contaminate the rainwater that pours out into your yard, on your foundation and possibly inside of your home. If you collect rainwater for other uses, it could house these dangerous toxins.
If you do not clean your gutters, the debris buildup can develop mold. It then can grow and spread, eventually entering your home and creating health problems for everyone living inside. Anytime that water enters a home, mold can become a potential problem. It can exacerbate allergies and cause other health issues.
The Cost of Water Damage From Gutter Leaks
The most expensive water damage comes from black water that contains toxic contaminants and pathogens, like water coming from clogged gutters filled with mold and animal feces. Undetected water leaks, like those from clogged gutters, can quickly damage a home at its foundation. The leaks can also run down the exterior walls, causing damage to outdoor siding and even inside the walls.
Once the water from clogged gutters gets into your home, it moves quickly. If will flow until something stops it, then it pools in that location, which could be around your foundation, in your basement or elsewhere. Depending on where the water ends up, repairs to your home and gutters can cost thousands of dollars or more.
How Often Should You Clean Your Gutters?
At a minimum, you should clean your gutters once per year, before the chill of winter hits. Any water in a clogged spot can freeze and damage your roof and gutters. When water and snow freeze at the clogged areas, it can create ice dams that can back up into the roof.
If your yard has large trees that are close to your home, reconsider how often you should clean your gutters — you may want to remove debris at least twice per year. Major storms can also trigger a need for gutter cleaning, especially if windy conditions cause leaves and twigs to land on your roof.
How To Clean Your Gutters
The best way to clean gutters is to prepare yourself with safety gear and materials. You'll need a ladder, and you'll also want to wear safety goggles, rubber gloves, long-sleeved clothing and shoes with a solid grip (especially if you have to get on your roof to access any of your gutters).
Here are a few tips for how to make the process as smooth and easy as possible.
Use a Tarp
Before climbing the ladder and removing the gunk, put a tarp where you expect to drop the debris. It is easier to dispose of the debris, and it won't damage your landscaping.
Scoop the Debris
The easiest way to remove debris is to use one hand (covered in rubber gloves) to grab debris and drop it on the tarp. For the hard-to-remove gunk, you can use a gutter scoop, a children's sandbox shovel or a kitchen spatula. These small plastic scoops can get under the debris and force it out.
Flush It Out
After you've removed the piles and clogs in your gutters, flush out the smaller items with your garden hose. You'll want to bring the hose up the ladder and let the water flow for a few minutes. As the water flows through the gutters, you'll see if you have any remaining problems like leaks or clogs. The force of the water can help remove anything you've missed. Make sure the water is flowing freely in the gutter and out of the downspout before you shut it off.
Get Peace of Mind With Smart Self Monitoring
While regular gutter maintenance can remove debris and clear out clogs temporarily, it doesn't take long for gutters to fill up again and cause more clogs and leaks. Rather than trusting only gutter cleaning to protect your home from water damage, install Notion Sensors anywhere you may have a leak. The sensors will alert you when your home has a water leak, bringing peace of mind wherever you are.
Water damage is one of the most costly repairs you can face in homeownership. Keep your gutters clean and let Notion do the rest so you can avoid a big headache and unnecessary expenses.