Your gutters are a vital part of your home’s roofing system. As a homeowner, it is important that you understand how your gutters work so that you can keep them functioning properly.
What are gutters?
Gutters, also known as eavestroughs, are troughs fixed around the eaves or edges of a roof. They direct the rain that falls onto the roof away from the building.
Water always travels by the path of least resistance. Gutters provide a nice easy path for water to travel from your roof to the ground and away from your home’s foundation. Functioning gutters can prevent leaky roofs and walls, damage to your foundation, basement flooding, soil erosion and damage to landscaping.
Why clean your gutters?
Fallen leaves and other debris can plug gutters. Not only do plugged gutters not fulfill the important functions listed above, they have the potential to cause additional harm to your roof by contributing to ice dams in the winter. Rather than directing water away from your roof, a plugged gutter holds water and, in the winter, allows water and ice to pool and build up on the roof, which often contributes to ice dams and leaks.
In addition, when gutters become very full of dirt and waterlogged debris, they become heavy.Heavy plugged gutters bend, tear and fall from where they are attached under the edge of the roof. This can cause damage to the eaves, soffit, or the gutters themselves and result in expensive repairs.
When should you clean your gutters?
Depending on the location of your home in relation to nearby trees, the weather in your area and the complexity of your roof and gutter system, you may need to clean your gutters once or twice per year. This should be done in the spring and fall, or in the fall after the leaves have finished falling.
How to clean your gutters?
Cleaning gutters requires you to climb a ladder and scoop leaves, sticks and other debris out of the gutters using your gloved hands or a garden trowel. A garden hose can be used to flush smaller debris and dirt towards the downspouts. Don’t forget to make sure that the downspouts are clear of debris as well.
Whenever you do any work on your roof, safety should be a priority. If you don’t have the equipment or the ability to safely clean your gutters yourself, hire a professional to do it for you.