Did you know that Virginia gets an average of 43.32 inches of rain each year? Or that Maryland isn’t far behind, with an average of 42.75 inches? On top of that, both states experience a gorgeous autumn season, which means that tons of leaves fall each year.
Cleaning roof gutters is important for every homeowner to tackle at least once every year or so.
In areas with four very distinct seasons, like Virginia and Maryland, homeowners should be cleaning their roof gutters two to three times a year.
Cleaning Roof Gutters: Why It’s Important
As the leaves fall in autumn and pollen and other plant matter fills the air in spring, gutters become clogged with all kinds of gunk. Let’s talk about what can happen next and why it’s so important that you clear all of that gunk out before it’s too late.
Leaks in the Roof
The biggest and most costly concern of a clogged gutter is the potential leaks that can develop as a result. Gutters are designed to catch water and reroute it away from your roof and back down to the ground. If your gutters or drainpipes are clogged, that water has nowhere to go.
In the event of heavy rainfall or even after a heavy snowfall, water that can’t make it through your gutters will begin to pool on the roof. This can cause your roofing to rot, rendering both your gutter and your roof incapable of diverting water from damaging the interior of your house.
If you’re not careful, you may end up footing the bill for roof repair and repairs for the inside of your home, like drywall repair and carpet replacement.
Eroding Landscapes and Damaged Foundation
Not only do gutters deter water from pooling on your roof, but they also prevent water from flooding your gardens and steer water away from the base of your house. If your clogged gutters aren’t causing water to pool on your roof, they may be causing water to fall steadily onto the ground below.
If water is pooling in your garden or yard, it can cause the land to erode, shifting the ground your house was built on. It can also destroy any gardening you’ve worked hard to maintain. Worst of all, it can seep into the concrete foundation of your home, causing swelling or cracking that will lead to structural damage to the entire house.
Nests for Pests
All sorts of critters look for places to nest, and where better than a cradle-shaped passageway filled with leaves?
In the wintertime, you may encounter rodents like squirrels and mice creeping around in your clogged gutters. Chances are, they’re not living up there, but they are gathering materials for their nests somewhere nearby. If they’re cold enough, they may start chewing through the wood up on your roof to take refuge in your house!
In the spring, keep a lookout for bees and wasps. Gutters and drains are more than suitable for their nests, as they’re high above humans and therefore less likely to be disturbed. Not only is it unsavory to share your yard with a colony of stinging creatures, but their nests can become heavy enough to cause structural damage to your gutter.
Finally, make sure your gutters are clear in the summertime because standing water is a mosquito’s best friend. Of course, mosquitos are huge pests that make it a lot harder to enjoy a nice evening in the backyard, but they can also be dangerous. In North America, we may be safe from a lot of mosquito-borne diseases, but there have been cases of Zika and West Nile virus in the U.S. in recent years.
Breeding Grounds for Mold
Mold needs two key ingredients to survive: moisture and organic matter. A damp gutter clogged with leaves is the perfect place for mold to grow, especially in the warmer months.
When it’s outside, mold isn’t a huge deal. In fact, there’s really no escaping mold when you’re out of doors. However, combine a moldy gutter with a rotting, patchy roof and you’ve got a serious problem on your hands.
Once mold makes it indoors, you run the risk of being more exposed to a higher concentration of mold spores. This can lead to irritations like congestion and asthma-like symptoms. It can also lead to damaged wood, drywall, carpeting, and more.
When Is the Best Time to Clean Gutters?
Now that you know just how important it is to clean roof gutters, let’s talk briefly about the best times to get it done.
Perhaps the most crucial time to clean your gutters is in the weeks after all of the leaves have fallen and before winter weather like snow and sleet have set in. Now, if you have a lot of trees in your yard or even on your street, you may need to do a preliminary cleaning before autumn is through.
It’s also a good idea to check your roof gutters throughout the spring and summer and clean them out as necessary. As leaves return to the trees and plant life blooms, all sorts of seeds, pods, and pollen are dropping or floating through the air. Your gutters may not clog as badly as they will in the fall, but you do run the risk of hosting seedlings and growing plants in your gutters!
Call in the Professionals
If you’re dealing with seriously gunked up gutters, it may be a good idea to call the professionals to deal with it. Cleaning roof gutters isn’t always the safest work. Plus, without the right tools, it can be difficult to get your downspouts and storm drains fully gunk-free.
If you’re in the DMV and need your gutters cleaned out, send us a note and we’ll get back to you about your free estimate right away!