Many homeowners never think twice about their gutters, but the gutter system plays an important role in protecting the home. The gutter catches rainwater that rolls off of your roof and redirects it so it does not fall near your home’s foundation.
This system, however, will not work properly if the gutters are clogged with dirt and debris. For this reason, it’s important for homeowners to understand how to spot and fix clogged gutters.
Signs Your Home Has Clogged Gutters
Homeowners that don’t pay close attention to their gutters may not immediately spot a clog in the system. There are several signs you should look out for, including:
- Plant Growth
Birds and other animals may start to nest in the leaves, twigs, and other debris in your clogged gutters. If birds are constantly near or in your gutters, this is a sign that there’s a clog.
Look out your windows during a rainstorm to see if water is spilling out over the sides of your gutters. This indicates that the water cannot drain through the gutter system due to a clog. You should also keep an eye out for pools of water near the foundation of your home, which could indicate that your gutters are clogged.
Plants can start to grow in your gutters if they are clogged. If there is a garden growing in your gutter, it’s time to unclog them.
If you spot any of these signs, it’s important to clean your gutters as soon as possible.
How Clogged Gutters Can Damage Your Home
Failing to clean your gutters can lead to major problems, including:
- Foundation damage
- Fascia damage
- Landscaping damage
Rainwater cannot drain through clogged gutters, so it will start to spill over the sides of the gutter instead. The water that falls over the sides of the gutters will start to accumulate around the foundation of your home. This pool of water will eventually weaken the foundation, causing it to crack or partially collapse. Mold and mildew can also start to grow in this damp environment.
Fascia boards, which are typically made out of wood, support the gutter system and hold them in place. If the gutters are clogged, rainwater will come into contact with the fascia boards as it spills over the sides. The wooden boards will eventually start to rot as a result of this water, which means you will need to replace them to protect your roof from further damage.
The water that spills over the sides of the gutter could fall on top of flowers, plants, and bushes located close to your home. Too much water can kill flowers, plants, and bushes, so you may need to re-landscape this area if you don’t unclog your gutters.
How to Clean Gutters
It’s not hard to clean your gutters, so there’s no need to hire a professional if you feel comfortable doing it on your own. Here’s what you will need to finish the job:
- Trowel or plastic scoop
Now follow these simple steps:
1. The first step is to find your gutter system’s downspout and start there. Remove leaves, twigs, and other debris from the downspout using a trowel or plastic scoop and put them in the bucket.
2. You will need to clear out the gutters that are attached to your roof. Place the ladder as close to the clogged gutter as possible. You should never try to clean gutters while standing on top of your roof. It’s much safer to use a ladder to remove this debris. Carefully climb up the ladder until you can see the inside of the gutter. Scoop out the debris and dump it in the bucket. Keep doing this on other sections of the gutter until all of the debris has been removed.
Finally, you will need to flush out the gutters. Use a hose to run water through the gutters and remove tiny pieces of dirt and debris that you could not get to with your trowel or plastic scoop.
You don’t need special equipment or training in order to clean your gutters. But, if you don’t feel comfortable doing it on your own, it’s best to call a professional for help.
Don’t Forget About Gutter Maintenance
There’s no doubt that cleaning your gutters is an important part of protecting your home. It’s best to clean your gutters at least twice a year—once in the spring and again in the late summer or fall. Make sure you set reminders on your phone or write them into your calendar so you don’t forget to protect your home by unclogging the gutters!