Gutters are an essential to your roof system and the protection it provides for your home. They channel water runoff away from your house, protecting your roof, yard, and foundation in the process. If the build-up of dirt and debris over time causes a blockage, that clog can prevent your gutters from doing their job, meaning you lose the protection they provide. Gutter clogs can result in overflows, gutters pulling away from your home, ice dams, or other conditions that can cause expensive damage. That’s why it’s critical to properly maintain your gutters and prevent or remove clogs before they become problematic.
Here are five steps you can take to ensure your gutter system remains clog- and problem-free:
1. Clean your gutters often.
Gutters should be cleaned at least twice a year. If you have trees that drop leaves over the gutters, they will fill more quickly. Pine trees are especially problematic, so keep a close eye on areas where pine branches overlap your roof.
If your trees shed near your roofline, you should aim to clean your gutters more frequently. In some cases, that can mean as often as every three months. When in doubt, a quick visual inspection should tell you if it’s time to give your gutters some attention.
- If you see a significant build-up of debris, it’s time.
- If you notice plants growing in the gutters or bird activity that suggests there is a nest, that’s another sign that you can’t postpone the task of cleaning any longer.
- After severe storms, check to see if debris has landed in your gutters, requiring another clean-out.
Due to autumnal foliage and spring animal behaviors, it’s best to schedule your semi-annual cleanings for the end of fall and spring. Gutter cleaning is arduous and can be dangerous, especially if your home has more than one story. You may prefer to hire a professional gutter cleaning service to perform the work for you.
2. Trim your trees.
Leaves and sticks are one of the biggest causes of gutter clogs. If you keep your trees trimmed back away from your home, you can reduce the amount of material that falls into the gutters, preventing clogs and allowing you to go longer between cleanings.
Keeping trees trimmed away from the gutters also prevents falling branches from damaging the gutter system.
3. Consider installing gutter guards.
Another form of preventative maintenance for your gutters is the installation of gutter guards. These metal mesh systems are placed over the gutters, allowing water to flow in but blocking out large debris.
However, gutter guards aren’t a perfect solution. Smaller materials can still find their way through the mesh, and guards don’t prevent moss or algae growth. Guards also add weight to the gutters, which can be problematic when combined with the weight of icicles in snowy climates like Utah’s. When in doubt, consult your home roofing company to see if gutter guards are appropriate for your roof materials and weather.
If you utilize gutter guards, don’t use that as an excuse not to perform periodic cleanings. They may increase the time between necessary cleanings but don’t eliminate the need altogether.
4. Upgrade your gutters.
In some cases, no matter how clean your gutters are, they won’t be enough to handle the amount of water that needs to be carried away from your home. If basic preventative measures aren’t enough to allow your gutters to do their job, it may be time to upgrade. A larger or higher-grade system may be more appropriate, especially if you live in an area that gets heavy rain or if the design of your roof system channels significant amounts of water into small areas. Larger gutters have more capacity, meaning they can handle a larger volume of water and prevents overflows.
It’s also possible your gutters were not correctly installed. Poorly installed gutter systems can focus the build-up of debris to certain areas, accelerating the need for cleaning and making harmful clogs more likely. Utah roofing contractors can inspect your gutters to determine whether they need repair, replacement, or upgrading.
5. Perform periodic inspections.
Even slight cracks or warping in your gutters can significantly increase the amount of debris that gathers and leads to clogs. Any uneven surfaces can trap material that finds its way into the gutter system. Periodic visual inspections of your gutters will identify these issues and allow you to address them before they worsen.
You can perform your inspections by simply walking around your house and observing the condition of the gutters, but it is also advisable to have periodic professional inspections. Experts in gutter systems will notice problems that might not be obvious to the untrained eye. During their inspection, professionals can also look for issues with your roof so those can be repaired before they cause damage to your home or grow into more expensive problems.
Since ignoring your gutter system can lead to catastrophe for your roof, home, or yard, you don’t want to neglect it. Maintaining and cleaning your gutters is an essential home-maintenance chore. If you don’t ignore your gutters, they will continue to provide your home with the protection it needs. If you need help understanding or keeping up with your gutter system, a roofing company can help answer your questions.