The Hidden Value of Cleaning Gutters
Cleaning out the gutters of your home is just no fun at all. That’s why the majority of homeowners list this tiresome, messy chore as one of their least-favorite tasks. If you hate gutter cleaning, or you are not able to properly clean out your home’s gutters because of physical or structural challenges, you should hire a professional cleaning gutter service to do the job for you.
If you’re up to the task, cleaning out the gutters is a relatively straightforward process, but it’s an absolutely essential chore. Failing to clean out the gutters can cause massive damage to your home’s structure, costing hundreds or even thousands of dollars to repair.
The Dangers of Clogged Gutters
The fundamental function of your rain gutters is to transport the rain from dangerous storms down from your roof and away from your home’s foundation. When gutters get clogged with debris, leaves, twigs and animal activity, the problems begin to accumulate. The first and most obvious risk with gutters filled to the brim is weight; the stress on the gutters can cause them to come crashing down, which can cost on average $1,500 to $2,500 to replace, depending on the size of your home.
The next insidious risk is water damage, which can lead to rot. Water from storms has to go somewhere, and when the gutters are full, they drip down the side of the house, causing the siding to rot. Other concerns are stained siding, as well as the formation of ice dams during the winter. This can lead to expensive repairs and remodeling.
The next issue to confront is foundation damage. In addition to damaging or staining the siding, water can drop down to the basement, causing cracks and bringing the risk of mold and rot indoors. This can make your whole home fundamentally flawed, and is very expensive to repair. Clogged gutters can also cause driveways and walkways to crack and sag.
A final worrying issue is pests. Mosquitoes and other insects love nothing more than standing water. At best, your family will suffer from bug bites, and at worst, you put them at risk for dangerous illnesses like those caused by the West Nile Virus.
The Solution to Clogged Gutters
The good news is that every one of these issues can be solved by regular gutter cleaning. The most basic solution is to either hire a professional service to clean out your gutter, or get a ladder and a few basic tools and pull the debris out of your gutters.
You’ll need a ladder, hose, gloves, trough, and trash bags. Start by setting a steady ladder an arm’s length away from a corner downspout, tucking a few trash bags in your back pocket. Hold your garden trowel or trough in your hand as you climb the ladder, as they can harpoon you if you fall. Use your tool to pull debris away from the downspout, then put it in the trash bags and simply drop the bag to the ground when full. Move the ladder and repeat.
How often you clean out your gutters depends on where you live, and most importantly, how many trees are in your yard. At minimum, gutters should be cleaned once in the spring, and again in the fall of each year.
Still hesitant on tackling this chore yourself? Consider using a professional service, or even a local handyman. Get multiple estimates and references, and ensure that they are insured. Depending on where you live, the cost of gutter cleaning ranges from $75 to $225 for an average home, depending on the scope of work.