A lot can happen when you don’t clean your gutters—and none of it is good. Your gutters keep water flowing away from your house and its foundation. When they are clogged, water overflows and pools around your home, and that’s when trouble starts.
Fall is a good time to tackle gutter cleaning. As the leaves fall, they build up in your gutters. If you don’t clean them out before winter, clogged gutters can continue to cause problems all season long.
Here are eight of the worst consequences of not cleaning your gutters.
#1. Water damage
This is the big one. When water pools near your home’s foundation, it seeps in along the perimeter. Changing temperatures create a freeze-thaw cycle, which can cause cracks and even extensive structural damage to your foundation. Repair costs can easily reach into the thousands.
#2. Basement flooding
When water infiltrates the foundation, it can also seep into your basement, causing damage to walls, window wells, floors and more.
#3. Mildew and mold
The moist muck in your gutters is a perfect place for mold and mildew to grow. Additionally, water seepage can lead to mold in your basement and walls. This can include toxic black mold, which can cause serious damage as well as health problems for your family.
#4. Rotted wood
Standing water, overflowing gutters, and gutter damage can damage wood fascia and soffit boards near where the gutters attach. Wood rot easily spreads and can lead to attic and interior problems.
Moldy leaves and twigs attract all sorts of insects, like bees, wasps, termites and more. The debris is also attractive to mice. Some insects, like termites and carpenter bees, can damage the wood near your gutters. Others will make their way inside your home once temperatures drop.
#6. Landscape damage
Clogged gutters and improperly configured downspouts can ultimately undo all your yard work. During heavy rains, overflowing water can wash away topsoil and mulch and harm your plants.
#7. Ice dams
Failing to clean out clogged gutters can create problems in colder weather, too. Standing water freezes in your gutters and downspouts, leading to the buildup of ice dams in the winter. These are heavy, and they can cause your gutters to collapse. The freeze-thaw cycle can also stress gutters, creating leaks and holes.
#8. Roof leaks
When gutters are clogged with ice, melted snow cannot drain properly off your roof. Instead, it builds up. The freeze-thaw cycle comes into play here, too, leading to leaks and damage in your home’s interior.
Enough with the doom and gloom—you can see from this list why cleaning your gutters regularly is so important to home maintenance. It’s the ideal time of year to clean your gutters before winter—and Gutter Sense makes it easier and safer. It’s an easy-to-use, lightweight tool that attaches to an extension pole so you can clean even second-story gutters from the ground.