Trees are beautiful oxygen-producing, shade-providing homes for wildlife, and the only downside of having trees near your property are the occasional allergies and seasonal leaf shedding. Trees are great, but they can pose a risk to your gutters in the form of clogs. Clogs can be very dangerous to you, your property, and your gutters, so it is important to ensure your gutters are clean.
Leaf Damage is Serious
Leaves are pretty much everywhere, especially in places where deciduous trees start shedding their leaves in the fall; although, conifers can also pose a risk through their small needle-like leaves. Gutters are built to carry rainwater, not solid particles, so they are in a constant battle with leaves and other debris as they attempt to flow through the system alongside rainwater.
Some leaves can get caught on the joints or stuck to the sides of gutters. If enough leaves get caught, a clog will form. In warmer seasons, the risk posed by clogged gutters is that of roofing, foundation, and landscaping damage. There is also a major danger related to cleaning gutters especially if you have an unstable ladder or slippery roof.
Standing water in gutters can rise to the level of roofing materials and cause warping and rotting of the wood underneath your roof. Clogged gutters are prone to overflowing during rain, and this excess rain can damage landscaping and cause foundation and wall cracks especially during colder months when the water is in a cycle of freezing and thawing.
Another issue with clogged gutters in colder months is the fact that clogs formed by wet leaves can freeze and expand which may warp the gutters. Warped gutters are not an easy fix and can result in you having to reinstall gutters to your home.
One way to prevent leaves from entering your gutters in the first place is to install gutter guards. Gutter guards allow your gutters to be far more low-maintenance requiring less attention for cleaning and clearing clogs from gutters which can be unsafe without proper equipment.
Gutter guards serve to block debris from entering the inside of the gutters and forming clogs. There are many varieties of gutter guards including perforated metal, bottle brush, foam, and fine mesh. Each of these is effective in its own way, but fine mesh tends to be the most long-lasting and all-debris stopping device available.
If you notice that your gutters are visibly clogged, or if rainwater is leaking from a place it should not be, it is a good idea to get your gutters cleaned. While it is certainly possible to do this on your own, it is important to exercise extreme caution. Cleaning gutters can put you at serious risk for fall-related injuries. The CDC reports over 500,000 ladder-related injuries per year, so if you are uncomfortable cleaning your own gutters, it is easy to protect yourself by calling a professional to assist you.
It is a good housekeeping tip to check your gutters fairly often for clogs, cleaning them, and your downspouts whenever a clog happens to occur. This little bit of maintenance can go a long way in preserving your gutters.
Leaves can cause massive damage to your gutters which may harm your home, landscaping, or foundation. Leaf damage can be very costly, but the good news is that leaf damage is preventable by regularly maintaining your gutters and also by considering installing gutter guards to ensure your gutters are leaf-free!