As the leaves start to fall, you may be getting excited for pumpkin spice lattes or fire-side camping. But while you’re thinking about fall festivities, don’t forget one of the most important homeowner’s tasks: gutter cleaning. Ignoring this crucial chore could set you up for some not-so-festive problems. In this article, we will look into why gutter cleaning should be at the top of your fall to-do list.
Why Fall is a Critical Time for Gutter Cleaning in NJ
Fall is a beautiful but messy season, thanks to the leaves and debris that rain down day and night on every surface. If there was ever a time of the year that gutter cleaning was necessary, it’s now. This perpetual falling of leaves inevitably builds up in gutter systems and keeps them from doing their job. And if left unchecked these build ups can cause a host of other issues.
The Dangers of Clogged Gutters
1. Water Damage
Clogged gutters are notorious for causing water damage. When leaves and debris clog the gutters, water has nowhere to go but over the sides. This can lead to water leakage into your basement, walls, and even the foundation of your house, resulting in costly repairs.
2. Ice Dams
When gutters are blocked, it can lead to the formation of ice dams when the winter months come around. These are ridges of ice that form at the edge of a roof and prevent melting snow from draining off. The water that backs up behind the dam can leak into your home and damage walls, ceilings, and insulation.
3. Pest Infestations
Stagnant water in clogged gutters serves as a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other pests, leading to infestations that are not only annoying but potentially harmful.
4. Damage to Landscaping
Overflowing water from clogged gutters can erode the soil in your yard and can even damage your plants. When springtime comes around, that’s the last thing you want to worry about.
How to Properly Clean Your Gutters
Okay, so clogged up gutters are a big deal. But how do you go about getting them clean and clear? Thankfully this home maintenance task usually isn’t that complicated of a process. However, there are a few tools that are necessary:
- Gutter scoop or trowel
- Garden hose
- Safety glasses/mask (if necessary)
Steps to Follow
1. Set up ladder: First, set up your ladder near the area of your gutters that need to be cleaned and make sure it’s securely positioned.
2. Safety Gear: Put on your gloves, safety glasses, and dust mask if necessary.
3. Start with the Downspout: Begin at the downspout and work your way outward. This will ensure that you clear the path where water should flow first, preventing further blockages along the way.
4. Scoop Out Debris: Use your gutter scoop or garden trowel to remove leaves, sticks, and other debris from the gutters. Work in small sections, and place the debris in a bucket for easy disposal.
5. Flush with Water: Use your garden hose with a nozzle attachment to flush out the gutters. Start at the end opposite the downspout and work your way toward it. This will help push any remaining small debris towards the downspout.
6. Check the Downspout: When you’re all done take one last look at the downspout to make sure no remaining debris built up toward the end.
When to Call a Professional
Like we said above, gutter cleaning can be a fairly simple process, but there are many factors such as integrated gutters, multi-storied homes, and physical ability that may make the job either impossible or very difficult. In these cases professional help is a necessary investment.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: How often should gutters be cleaned? At least twice a year, and more often if you have a lot of trees nearby.
Q: What are the signs of a clogged gutter? Overflowing water, sagging gutters, and visible debris are good indicators.
Q: Are gutter guards effective in reducing the need for cleaning? They can be helpful but they should not be used as a substitute for regular cleaning.
What’s the Takeaway?
Gutter cleaning is a fall priority that you can’t afford to ignore. As we have seen, neglecting this important task can result in further inconveniences, or worse, serious damage. Keep your home protected and ready for the coming winter season.
Have more questions? Give us a call at Walker Roofing! We’re always happy to talk roofs, siding, and gutters.