Ah, fall. It’s a season for a lot of good things: beautiful colors, relief from air conditioning bills, cozy beverages on crisp days… And having the kids back in school certainly doesn’t hurt either, right?
It’s also a season for a few home maintenance items that are pretty important to take care of, especially as we head toward winter. We’ll feature roof maintenance tips and ideas soon, but for now let’s focus on cleaning out your gutters. It’s not fun or exciting, but it’s more important than you might realize.
5 reasons why cleaning your gutters is so important
Clean gutters protect your roof
If your gutters are clogged by fallen leaves and debris, water naturally has nowhere to go. This can lead to water seeping its way back in right along your roof line. Making matters worse, this kind of moisture intrusion can be difficult to pinpoint, and may lead to fairly extensive damage before it’s finally caught and corrected. The moral of the story? It’s critical that your home’s drainage system can do its job.
Clean gutters reduce pest issues
Think about it: if you were a rodent, wouldn’t a gutter packed full of leaves be pretty enticing? Who needs a tree, right? Mice, squirrels, chipmunks, and other critters will happily make your gutters their winter home, especially since it comes fully furnished, and there’s a strong chance that they’ll find their way inside in pretty short order. Next thing you know you’ll have a fully operational squirrel HOA in your attic.
Clean gutters help prevent ice dams
Ice dams start as a small issue, then balloon into major problems very quickly. In short, they form when water is allowed to collect along your roofline in the winter, freezing right at the edge. A barrier begins to build, barely even noticeable from the ground, but water continues to pool and collect behind it right on your roof. Clear gutters can prevent this issue completely by allowing water to flow away before it has time to freeze, and it can’t flow away if it’s packed full of leaves and pine needles.
Clean gutters aren’t as easily damaged
When gutters are full, they’re naturally weighed down. Now add in the burden of trapped water, saturated debris, and snow that has nowhere to go. You suddenly run the risk of seriously damaging your gutter system, and likely your roof right along with it. The odds are definitely not in your favor… And circling back to our first point, as your gutters pull away from your roof you open the door wide to moisture intrusion and pests.
Clean gutters protect your siding, trim, and even your foundation
Getting water away from your home quickly and efficiently is extremely important. In fact, we’d go so far as to say that your gutters are an unsung hero of your home’s systems. The furnace and hot water heater get all the glory… Water that overflows out of your clogged gutters may spill back onto your roof, but it also will pour over the front and run down your siding, windows, and pool along your foundation. Is it a big deal? It might not seem like it at first, but this kind of consistent exposure can lead to wood rot, decay, and even structural damage to your foundation. Seriously!
How can you safely clean your gutters in NJ?
Here are a few quick tips:
- Watch your power lines! You’d be surprised by how many people electrocute themselves each year while trying to do roof-related work.
- Have a trustworthy partner stabilize your ladder. Not a kid who’s easily distracted…
- Don’t lean out! Your work zone shouldn’t exceed the width of your shoulders.
- Wear gloves, especially if you haven’t cleaned your gutters in a while. You never know what’s hiding under there, or what kind of sharp objects may be stuck in the leaf litter.
- Please don’t use a leaf blower while balancing on a ladder.
If you feel uncertain or have any issues with heights, don’t risk cleaning your own gutters. You can call a roofing professional and ask for help – paying a pro is so much better than putting yourself in an unsafe situation.
Have more questions about roofing or roof maintenance in South Jersey?
Contact us at Walker Roofing! It would be our pleasure to serve you and your home.