If you are like many homeowners, your gutters aren’t something you often think about. They need biannual gutter cleaning, but besides that, their purpose is incredibly simple.
It’s not until your gutters aren’t doing their job that you understand just how important they are!
WHAT DO GUTTERS DO?
Gutters and downspouts go virtually unnoticed on most homes in Chicopee. They blend into the exterior unless the homeowner decided on copper or wood … building materials that are definitely designed to stand out! Most home exteriors are made of durable but lightweight aluminum or vinyl siding.
The point of rain gutters is to provide a route of least resistance for rain and snow to get off your roof. When they are in good shape, your rain gutters will route runoff away from the foundation and landscaping, will protect your home’s exterior from mold and mildew, the foundation and basement from leaks, and the gutters themselves from wear and rust.
When they are damaged, it can lead to thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to your home and property.
ARE YOUR GUTTERS DAMAGED?
Gutter damage is too easy to fix to be the cause of any major home repairs! Inspecting your gutters is simple and safe. If you see any of the following signs, it’s a strong indication that your rain gutters have some kind of damage.
Once you find a possible gutter issue, you can decide whether it’s something you are comfortable fixing or remedying by yourself or if it’s something you should call a gutter repairman to handle.
Sitting Water Near Your Home
Standing water is a good sign that your gutters or downspouts are not directing the rain runoff away from your house the way they are supposed to. Standing water can lead to mold, weakening of your foundation, and provides the perfect habitat for mosquitoes. Plus, it will make the areas surrounding your home constantly wet and muddy.
Mold or Mildew
Mold or mildew is a bad sign, whether you see mold or mildew on the rain gutters or the exterior of your home. Mold and mildew mean there is excessive moisture in that area – a potential problem with the rain gutters could be to blame. Remember that mold and mildew are likely to grow on the north side of a house anyway, so if that’s where they’re growing, it might just be because that area doesn’t get a lot of direct sunlight. This is a scenario where the advice and expertise of a gutter specialist in Chicopee would be helpful.
Rain Pouring Over the Gutter
You will have to wait until it’s raining to find this gutter issue. Hopefully this doesn’t mean your gutters are damaged. It might just be that the gutter is clogged with debris and needs to be cleaned out. Either way, you need to have it looked at right away.
Based on the construction of your basement, the leaking could be due to any number of things. The standing water problem we discussed earlier could definitely result in a basement leak. Egress windows and cinder block walls can only keep out so much water. That’s why it is necessary to keep your gutters in working order!
Landscaping or Lawn Damage
Gutters pour directly onto the ground most of the time, and landscaping should be laid out to work with this water flow to help it submerge into the ground. But, a leaking gutter or clogged gutter will allow rainfall to overflow or pool in areas where it shouldn’t. This pooling rain water can kill plants by force or by overwatering. It can also displace flower bed materials like rock or mulch.
Water marks are the first sign that there is a lot of moisture on a surface. Water marks are left behind even if standing water has evaporated or dissipated. You will usually see water marks under the rain gutters or directly behind the downspouts. This is a usually a sign that rain water is running down the outside of the gutters rather than staying inside of them.
Visible Gutter Damage
The last sign of gutter damage is the simplest to spot. If your gutters are bent, sagging or cracked, they obviously have damage. After a storm, it’s a smart idea to walk around your home to assess any possible damage to the roof, outer walls, and rain gutters. These inspections are in addition to any routine home inspections.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR GUTTERS?
Here are a couple of simple tips Clean & Clear Gutters recommends to help prevent gutter damage:
Clean your gutters at least one time each year. You can lengthen the amount of time between gutter repairs by keeping them cleaned out. Like with anything else, the better you maintain your gutters, the fewer problems you’ll have with them.
The recommended time to clean out gutters is in the spring, but to be extra cautious, give them a cleaning in the fall, too. A lot of homeowners choose to clean their gutters themselves, but there are many local gutter cleaning companies that provide this service so you don’t have to handle the mess or the risk.
Inspect your gutters often. Signs of damage can often be visible from the outside of the gutters. Just a fast inspection – with both feet firmly on the ground – will reveal any of the signs we wrote about above.
We’d suggest that you do an exterior home inspection after each season to be sure that your gutters are working properly.
When you see signs of gutter damage, act fast. Fixing an issue before it becomes too bad can save you time and money. A small crack, for example, can be sealed, or the section of gutter with the crack can be replaced very affordably.
However, if you let the problem go on for too long, you might end up making repairs in your basement, replacing vinyl siding or redoing an entire section of landscaping.