Do you know what's lurking inside your gutters? If you haven't been maintaining them, virtually anything could be hidden in there. For many homeowners, gutters are mostly ignored. You might clean them out once a year, but you aren't likely to look at them unless they've already gotten clogged.
Despite their inconspicuousness, gutters are very important. When there's an issue with your gutters, you'll know — and it may have already gotten to the point that the situation will be difficult to resolve. Proactive gutter maintenance is the best way to prevent these issues from getting worse.
Exactly What Do Your Gutters Do?
Not every home actually has gutters. Gutters are usually built into homes that would otherwise have a risk of water damage. Gutters collect water from the roof and route that water away from the home's foundation. Without gutters, many homes may experience standing water near them, and this water could get into the foundation and eventually cause serious structural damage.
If your home doesn't have gutters, you should consider having them put in. Putting in gutters isn't very expensive, and it can save you a lot of money by protecting your home's structure and its foundation. You can even have fashionable gutters put in, such as gutters painted to the color of your trim.
Why Do You Need to Maintain Your Gutters?
What happens when gutters are blocked? First, the water can end up accumulating on the roof, causing damage such as leaks. The water will also then pour around the house, potentially causing foundation damage.
If your gutters aren't maintained, they can get blocked. There are a lot of things that could be in unclean gutters:
- Snakes. Snakes can climb into gutters and lurk beneath the leaves and branches. Snakes often look for dark, warm spaces to stay in. Imagine your surprise if you're standing under your roof and you're suddenly hit by a snake from above! You should always use gloves when you're cleaning gutters, because you don't know what you could encounter.
- Bees. Bees and wasps can both make their home in unmaintained gutters. Since a bee hive can move in within a day, you may not even know it's happening. If a bee hive does move in, consider calling up a beekeeper. They will often remove the hive for free and keep it, so you know that the bees haven't been harmed and are still contributing to the environment.
- Birds. Birds frequently nest inside of gutters. While often adorable, it's also a danger and a nuisance. The nest will block off rainwater, causing the gutter to flood. The nest may also be washed away. If they're an endangered bird, you can leave the nest alone until they're finished. But afterwards, you will need to get it out!
- Mice. Mice can nest inside of gutters, but they're not the only ones. Squirrels can also be attracted, and they are devastatingly aggressive when it comes to tearing apart infrastructure. Squirrels will often start digging into soffiting and the surrounding areas, until they're able to get into the warmth of your home.
- Mold. It isn't just small animals that can get into gutters. Mold can, too. While exterior mold usually isn't an issue, the mold can start to grow on other surfaces, and damage the appearance of your home. You can get your mold removed through remediation.
- Mosquitoes. If there's any stagnant water in or around your gutters, you're likely to experience issues with mosquitoes. These can be harmful to both people and pets.
- Termites. Termites will often nest inside of gutters and then use those gutters to transition to a house. Anywhere there's dead leaves and dead twigs, there could potentially be termites waiting to cause major structural problems.
In short: if you haven't been cleaning your gutters, you don't know what's in those gutters. It could be anything from a snake to mold. You can solve this mystery yourself, however, by cleaning out your gutters.
How to Clean Your Gutters
Now you know that you should definitely keep your gutters clean. But how can you clean your gutters? The easiest way is to call a professional. A professional gutter cleaning service will be able to clear out your gutters and make repairs as necessary. They will have all the tools available, and they'll be able to quickly and safely handle the issue. Otherwise, you may need to purchase a lengthy ladder or other similar supplies.
Are you ready to get started? Consider a gutter inspection to identify the problem and to start the process of gutter repair.