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Thursday, January 19th, 2012 by Jacques Bouchard
When was the last time you had your gutters maintained? If it's been a year or more, your home may be nurturing several serious problems – ones that will potentially develop into a home improvement nightmare!
Managing water and moisture is one of the most important ways that you can maintain the integrity and value of your home. Gutters represent an important part of that moisture management system by collecting water from your roof and directing it as far away from your home as possible.
Gutter maintenance is not a DIY job! A professional will not only clean debris from your gutter system, but also inspect the system for cracks and leaks, and will check to make sure your system is pitched properly to eject water from your home.
But why clean the gutters in the first place? When asked directly, many homeowners do not have a clear answer. What follows are three excellent (and often unknown) reasons to clean your gutters:
1. Preventing Roof-Damaging “Ice Damming”
During the winter months, gutters and downspouts clogged with debris will collect water, which will then freeze into a barrier. As the eavestroughs become weighed down, they will become warped out of shape. Bent, warped gutters will not be pitched correctly, and will therefore be ineffective at directing water away from your home.
As a ridge of ice builds up against your roof, new water will become backed up, pooling up against the ice barrier. This water can then find its way up under the shingles of your roof, which leads to significant water damage.
2. Avoiding Foundation Flooding & Damage
One thing your gutters and downspouts accomplish is to direct this water away from your home, where it would otherwise pool around your foundation.
For an average house, an inch of rain amounts to about 500 gallons of water on your roof. If allowed to pool around your home, this water will contribute to any basement flooding issues your home may have.
On top of that, water is heavy! As the soils around your foundation become wet, it can add thousands of pounds of pressure to your walls – and there's nothing in your basement pushing back. If the soil pressure bearing down against your walls exceeds your walls' ability to bear it, they will begin to lean in at the top, slide in along the bottom, or bulge in the middle. Any additional moisture in the soil will be a contributing factor to this pressure, and can exacerbate a problem that already exists.
3. Preventing Pest Infestations
Give pests warmth, moisture, and a place to live, and they will gladly move right in. That being said, it's not uncommon to have ants, termites, or other pests nest directly in the debris present in your gutters – and spread from there into your home.
And since improperly maintained gutters will often mean pooling water around your home, there will also be a great environment for pests right around the base of your house. Moist soil around your home is particularly enticing to several termite species, who will gladly move into your home as soon as they discover a way in.
Along with maintaining your gutters, it's also a great idea to perform routine pest inspections on your home. Pests such as termites and cockroaches can sometimes infest a home for years before they're discovered – damaging your home and creating an unhealthy environment as they live, breed, and die in your living space.
All content provided by Expediant, your local experts for pest control or mold remediation in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Philadelphia, New Jersey, and New York. To schedule a pest control inspection or pest control appointment with our professionals, contact us by phone or e-mail today!