It’s summer now, which means intense storms in many areas of the country. Sudden storms and downpours can put stress on your gutters, especially if they are clogged. You might not even realize your gutters are clogged, which can spell trouble for your home – like a waterlogged foundation, damaged walls, mildew, mold and more.
Why? When your gutters are clogged, they can’t do their job of diverting water off your roof and away from your home. The next thing you know, you’re facing a costly repair or major replacement. Watching for signs of clogged gutters can help you avoid these consequences and protect your home.
If you’re already cleaning your gutters in the spring and fall, you’re on the right track. Still, it’s wise to pay attention to the top signs of clogged gutters to avert problems.
Sign #1: Overflowing gutters
Water spilling over your gutters is the surest sign of all that your gutters are clogged. In a rainstorm, look for water spilling directly from the roof to the ground. If it’s not raining, look for signs of seepage that could indicate stagnant water pooled in your gutters.
You can also spot a pattern of debris inside the gutter that will point to clogged gutters. This requires looking into the gutters, so be sure to practice ladder safety by planting both feet of the ladder firmly on even ground and enlisting a helper to hold the ladder for you while you inspect. Look inside the gutter to assess debris. Debris will be spaced evenly throughout, but areas like inside and outside corner turns and valleys may have collected greater amounts of debris. You may also find a pile of leftover debris right before the opening to the downspout.
Clearing out this debris will ensure that water can move smoothly through the gutter system. Pro tip: a week or so after cleaning your gutters, do a quick cleaning right by the downspout opening. This is where muck seems to stop right before it falls down the spout, contributing to clogged gutters.
Sign #2: Clogged downspouts
Over time, debris can build up inside the gutters—and some portion of it is going to travel down your downspout. If you notice small clumps of debris building up near the downspout outlets, it’s time to investigate how things look up top.
Other signs of clogged gutters include intermittent flow from your downspouts—gushing and then slow or nonexistent—as debris works its way through the gutter system. Be a detective and look for other signs like flow patterns in your landscaping to catch minor issues before they become big problems. As noted above, an extra spot cleaning a week or so after cleaning the gutters can help to avert the formations of minor dams of gunk that will affect downspout flow.
Sign #3: Sagging gutters
It’s simple, really: debris is heavy. Add water, and you can tip the balance—literally—for your gutters. Clogged gutters may sag under the weight of the load inside, bending or pulling away from the fascia to which they are attached. If you notice your gutters straining under the load, you almost certainly have standing water and muck inside them. It’s time to tackle gutter cleaning.
Sign #4: Stained siding or peeling paint
Staining on your siding and peeling paint are a sure sign that water has spilled out of your gutter system and onto your home. Clogged gutters may have contributed to standing water that is now seeping out from split seams or holes in your gutters. If you notice these signs, it’s time to clean the gutters right away, as this water could cause costly damage to the fascia where your gutters attach, to your siding, and even to your walls and foundation.
Sign #5: Plant growth and pests
Rooftop gardens are great, but not if they’re growing in your gutters. Seeing maple seedlings and other new growth sprouting from your gutters is a sure sign there is debris up there feeding a gutter garden. Standing water, muck, and new plant life can all put strain on your gutters, contributing to sagging gutters, split seams, and other damage. Take care of gutter cleaning right away – and leave the rooftop gardens to the chic city bars and restaurants.
A safer way to clean gutters
Now that you know the top signs of clogged gutters, it’s time to get to work – safely. Gutter cleaning with a ladder can be a messy, dangerous, unpleasant job, so we’ve created a better way to get it done. Stay off the ladder – and keep both feet planted on the ground – with Gutter Sense. This lightweight, easy-to-use tool will help you stay on top of gutter cleaning and prevent clogged gutters. It attaches to a standard 12- to 20-foot extension pole, so you can reach even second-story gutters from the ground.
Gutter Sense features two angled tongs, which you lower into the gutters to grab debris including pine needles, leaves, and muck. It will put an end to clogged downspouts, overflowing gutters, and gutter gardens once and for all. At under $30, Gutter Sense costs less than hiring a pro to get your gutter cleaning done and is easy enough for almost everyone to use.