Having clean gutters is an essential part of a well-maintained home.

Many people might ignore their gutters as they do not look at them very often, but they are an essential part of the home.

In this blog we will examine the impact that messy gutters can have on your home, how you can safely clean your gutters and how you can prevent it from becoming messy in the future.

But first, it is important to know the purpose of gutters.

The purpose of gutters

Gutters are designed to catch water and ensure it flows in a safe, controlled manner down into the municipal sewage. Mostly they are designed to control the flow of rainwater.

Water moves from the roof into the gutters and through the downpipe, before entering the drainage system.

Gutters

Gutters on a corrugated metal roof. The water pours down the sloped roof into the gutters.

Why do I need clean gutters?

Leaving your gutters to accrue debris and waste is a disaster waiting to happen.

Damage to your roof

When you neglect to clean your gutters, this causes a build up of debris that results in a blockage.

Generally, the main culprit of blocked gutters are leaves, twigs and other falling debris.

When your gutters become blocked, this causes the water to overflow and spill onto your roof.

Excess water will eventually result in damage in the form of rust, rot and mould.

clogged gutters in Eagleby

An example of gutters that have been clogged by debris.

Mould

Mould is a major concern because it can have major health impacts on anyone living or even visiting your home.

Mould is a fungus that grows in moist conditions.

Breathing in mould spores can cause respiratory issues such as coughing, a tight chest, irritated throat, and coughing.

Inhaling mould for too long can damage your lungs or cause asthma. It can also aggravate lung issues you already have, like asthma and allergies.

If you allow water and moisture to pool up in your roof, this can result in mould.

This further demonstrates the importance of cleaning your gutters.

downpipe mould

Mould can form on gutters and in downpipes when there are blockages which trap water. As seen here.

Damage to the foundation of your home

The overflow from a blocked gutter will not just spill onto your roof.

It will also spill over onto the ground and pool around the foundation of your home.

This can damage the foundation of your home, resulting in cracks.

These cracks will significantly lower the value of your home.

Furthermore, small cracks exposed to moisture can become large very quickly, causing even more structural issues.

Garden bed flooding

If your garden is anywhere near you clogged gutters, the waterflow can pour into your garden bed.

This can destroy your garden, overwater plants and dislodging them from the ground.

Increased risk of pests

If your gutter is congested with damp leaves, twigs, and other vegetation, it can become an attractive nest site for possums, rats and other tests.

Also, the pooling of water makes it an attractive place for mosquitos to breed.

Damage to your roof can also make it easier for pests to enter your roof and nest inside.

roof rust

Damaged rooves are easier for pests to enter. Possums were able to burrow into the weak, rusted portion of this wall to make a nest.

Termite Infestation

The risk of a termite infestation also increases significantly when you have a clogged gutter.

The mix of high moisture as well as decaying leaves and branches will attract termites to your home.

Water leaking directly onto the wooden elements of your home will also make it easier for termites to eat away at them.

Termites need moisture to thrive and have an easier time eating damp wood.

Once they get into your gutters, they can spread unseen through your roof cavity and infest your home.

Not only can they enter through your roof, but the foundation cracks caused by pooling moisture can also present an opportunity for termites to enter your home.

Damp gardens are also more attractive to termites.

termites found during inspection

Termites found during an inspection

Maintain clean gutters to avoid costly repairs

Evidently, clogged gutters can cause significant damage.

This damage can result in costly repairs that you might otherwise avoid.

How to maintain clean gutters

To protect your home, you should regularly clean your gutters.

Make sure to check them after storms or when it is particularly windy.

The right accessories

Make sure you have the right tools to clean your gutter.

Ensure you have a bucket, gloves, scraper, safe shoes, and a scooping implement to remove the debris.

protective gloves

The sort of protective gloves I should wear

Ensure it is safe

When going up the ladder, ensure you have a spotter to steady the ladder for you. If you cannot find a spotter, consider getting some sort of stabiliser.

To ensure safety, do not go up and down the ladder too often.

Clear the roof

Any leaves or debris on your roof will eventually fall into your gutter.

As such, before you clean your gutter use a rake, broom, or other such implement to sweep debris away.

Remove the debris

Use your gloved hand to remove larger debris and use a scoop to take out smaller debris.

Your scraper can be used to remove stubborn dirt that clings to your gutter.

Flush your gutter

Once you have removed the debris, flush your gutters by using the garden house to spray it down.

This will get rid of any remaining, loose debris that you might have missed.

Look for any damage to your gutter

Once you have clean gutters, you should inspect for any damage.

Look for any potential holes or leaks. Using the garden house can also expose leaks clearly.

In particular, you should look along the joints, as these are among the first areas to break.

Once you see the damage clearly, you can consult an expert about repairs.

 

Damaged downpipe

Your downpipe might also be damaged. Make sure to check it.

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