What keeps you up at night? It’s likely that gutter maintenance doesn’t even make the top ten list—unless something goes wrong. How do you know if something is wrong? Setting and sticking to a regular maintenance schedule will help you stay ahead of common problems. In this article, we share five common problems as well as tips on when to clean your gutters—and an easier, safer way to get the job done.
WHY GUTTERS ARE IMPORTANT
Why do gutters matter? They have one job: to channel water away from your home’s roof, walls, and foundation. This is important because otherwise water pools near the foundation causing serious (and expensive) damage over time.
Your gutters need to be in good shape to do their job. When clogged or damaged, they can’t channel water away from your home. Unless you’re sticking to a regular gutter cleaning and maintenance schedule, you might not know until the damage is done.
FIVE GUTTER MAINTENANCE PROBLEMS
#1. Clogged Gutters
The number-one problem for homeowners is clogged gutters. Leaves, pine needles, and other debris all collect in your gutters—and builds up over time. When gutters become clogged, they do not drain properly. Then, once it rains, the gutters overflow, and water is no longer channeled safely away from your home. The overflow can be especially heavy if you live in an area like the Midwest, which experiences intense summer storms.
How to solve it: To keep water flowing, clean your gutters regularly. When? It depends on where you live, but an ideal schedule is at least twice yearly, once after the leaves have fallen in the fall and once in early spring to ensure they are ready for April showers. Note: if pine trees grow near your home, you might need to clean your gutters more frequently, as pine needles can build up quickly. (See more on when to clean your gutters.)
#2. Leaks and holes
Look the next time it rains. Is water pouring from the underside of your gutters? If so, your gutters have a hole or leak.
How to solve it: Leaks can be relatively easy to fix. Use gutter sealant to caulk leaky seams. Holes will require a patching kit, which you can find at most hardware or home maintenance stores like Home Depot.
#3. Sagging gutters
Over time, the weight from gutter debris can strain the hangers that affix your gutters to the house. This causes them to sag—or worse, fall.
How to solve it: Sometimes the solution is as simple as cleaning the gutters and then tightening the screws that hold them to the hangers. If this doesn’t solve the problem, check that the hangers are properly spaced to hold the weight of your gutters when filled with water.
#4. Poor downspout placement
Too few downspouts, poor placement, or damage can contribute to overflowing gutters and standing water, especially during heavy rains.
How to solve it: Check to be sure that water is flowing through the downspouts and away from your home. Be sure they have not become detached, and that you have enough to keep gutters from overflowing.
You may not like the leaves, twigs, and debris in your gutters—but plenty of critters do. Termites, wasps, carpenter bees, mice, birds and even snakes can make homes in your gutters, causing damage to your gutters and your home.
How to solve it: The type of pest really dictates the solution here. Some, like mice and birds, will be sent packing with a simple gutter cleaning. Others, like wasps or bees, may require product application or a call to a qualified pest-control professional.
SAFER, EASIER GUTTER CLEANING
Regular gutter maintenance can help you avoid these common gutter problems. Most people dread it—but you don’t have to when you use Gutter Sense. It’s an easy-to-use, lightweight tool that makes cleaning the gutters easier and faster. You can reach even second-story gutters from the ground by attaching Gutter Sense to a 12’ to 20’ extension pole.