The unprecedented forest fires that have raged across the western US in 2020 have highlighted dirty gutters as a potential fire risk.
Organizations like the NFPA recommend you clean out gutters of fallen leaves, pine needles, and other organic debris. It’s one of the easiest steps you can take to fire-proof your home. Even in areas with low fire risk, cleaning roof gutters can help with pest control, prevent roof leaks, and even protect your foundations.
Read on to learn about why gutters are important and how to keep them functioning at their best.
1. Dirty Gutters Damage Your Roof
Guttering is an essential part of a roofing system. When correctly installed, it diverts rainwater away from your home, into downspouts, and out into the municipal stormwater systems.
A gutter system blocked with leaves, twigs, and dirt can create areas of standing water. This water can cause your roofing system to deteriorate. For example, you will need to regularly replace water-damaged roof shingles. And if the roof tiles get saturated, water will leak into your home causing expensive water damage.
2. Dirty Gutters Lead to Ice Dams and Buildup
Those icicles hanging off your eaves might look pretty, but they show a serious issue with your gutters.
If you live somewhere that snows, you know how essential it is that snowmelt runs as quickly as possible off your roof. If your gutters are filled with debris, ice dams will form where the meltwater is pooling. These solid blocks of ice trap water, which can seep into your home, causing everything from mold to roof tile damage.
Ice dams can even rip your gutters right off and you’ll have to replace them.
3. Dirty Gutters Cause Foundation Issues
Does your basement flood every time it rains? It’s time to check on your gutters.
If you don’t clean out gutters, they’ll overflow onto the land immediately next to your home. As the soil gets saturated, this water has nowhere to go. If there are any cracks in your walls and foundations, the water will flow into your basement.
Problems from water seepage include foundation cave-ins, rotten beams, and the growth of mold and mildew.
4. Dirty Gutters Attract Pests
In some parts of the USA, mosquitoes can carry dangerous diseases like the Zika virus, dengue fever, and malaria. Pools of stagnant water form in clogged gutters. These are ideal breeding grounds for water-loving insects.
If you live in a state that doesn’t get much rain, animals like mice, rats, and even birds might build nests in your gutters. The droppings from these pests can pose a health risk. And the rodents might invade your home looking for food.
5. Dirty Gutters Pose a Fire Risk
In hot, dry weather, gutters filled with seeds, leaves, and branches act like kindling. One spark from a nearby coal BBQ, fireworks, or a bonfire could ignite a blaze.
Water seepage from an overflowing blocked gutter can cause an electrical fire when the water meets electrical circuits embedded in the walls of a home.
Know When to Call a Gutter Cleaning Service
Climbing onto the roof of a home to clean rain gutters is not for the faint-hearted. To keep yourself safe, consider hiring a professional.
Cleaning companies like Sydney-based Clearview services specialize in jobs like cleaning dirty gutters, windows, and solar panels. They have the tools and experience to get the job done quickly and safely.
Keen to keep your home well maintained? Beyond The Magazine has you covered! Browse our articles on home improvement to learn all you need to know.