Back in the day on the Iowa farm we’d clean the gutters in the fall when we put on the storm windows. Then we’d clean them again in the spring when the storm windows came down. It was a bit of a trick with the old two story farm house.
Gutters aren’t the glamourous part of our homes. Unless we’re a hardcore do-it-yourselfer, we don’t spend a leisurely afternoon flipping through pages of a gutter magazine (if there is such a publication). Yet they are an important part of our home.
Simply put, the purpose of a rain gutter is to collect the runoff water from the roof and channel it away from the house. Without gutters or without properly working ones, lots of bad problems are waiting to happen. Here in West Texas, our first thought might be, “I don’t need to worry about gutters. We don’t get much rain here.” That may be true, but it doesn’t take much rain to create a problem. A one inch rain creates approximately 500 gallons of water runoff for the average home. If that water settles around your foundation, it can create problems.
Here’s just a few of the potential dangers of clogged or absent gutters:
When water collects too close to the foundation of your home, it can create a leaky or flooded basement.
The soil around your home will erode. Over time, this will cause your foundation to become exposed.
It can rust or otherwise damage the exterior of your home. A waterfall off the roof falling straight down causes water to splash mud on your siding. Depending on the type of siding, it can rust and/or become discolored. It can also damage window frame and fascia boards. Even hard surfaces like concrete patios and driveways can be damaged by continual water exposure.
If your home is painted, water runoff will certainly damage your paint job. We recently had a new roof put on our house. There’s a small portion of the front side that doesn’t have a gutter. The water runoff has worn completely through the most rugged paint available.
Excess water around your home increases the possibility of mold growth. Mold is more than just a minor inconvenience. It’s a health hazard. Not to mention the costly measures that have to be taken in tearing out infested walls, etc.
Last but not least, standing water is a breeding ground for mosquitos.
So how to care for your gutters? First, be sure they are properly secured to the side of your home. Screws work the best and provide the tightest fit. Be sure the downspouts have an extension that will put the water a minimum of ten feet beyond the foundation of your home.
Keep the gutters clean and free of debris. There are gutter screens that can be installed that will allow the water to collect but keep the leaves and twigs out. If you don’t have these screens, be sure to clean your gutters in the spring and late fall, preferably after the leaves are off the trees. If you are able to do it safely, a leaf blower works famously. Don’t forget to put the leaf blower in the downspout to clear it also.
If your roof is flat, this is an easy task. If your roof has multiple pitches and steep angles, hire a professional. It’s not worth taking a chance of injuring yourself.
The professionals at Sinclair want your home to be safe and free from damage. Give us a call with any of your plumbing, heating and cooling questions. We will be happy to serve you! 806-749-2665