Every year in the spring and fall, homeowners are reminded of the dreaded home chore of cleaning the gutters. It is tempting to skip this task altogether especially when life keeps getting in the way, but with unclean gutters, you may eventually run into issues with your home in the future.
Leaking gutters can be a costly problem for homeowners. Gutters work to direct water away from your windows, siding, foundation, and other vulnerable areas of your home. Gutters can become clogged and cause damage to your house, which can result in an expensive fix down the line.
Potential Consequences of Unclean Gutters
When gutters are clogged and overflow, water trickles down the side of homes and eventually collects in the basement. One of the best ways to avoid a flooded basement is with an effective gutter system that includes aluminum gutter covers. By installing a cover for your gutter, it will catch debris so the water will drain to the gutter easily.
If the house has a crawl space, slab, or basement, overflowing gutters can cause damage to a home’s foundation. If the sand, dirt or clay under the home gets too wet, the foundation may shift completely, causing cracks and buckling. Additionally, standing water can deteriorate piers in a home on a crawl space. Clogged and damaged gutters will cause cracks and holes in your foundation and walls making a perfect entrance into your home for pests.
Standing water can become a breeding ground for mosquitos and other pests. Rodents may find the water, and critters that eat mosquitos will be drawn to your home. These pests won’t just be on the outside of your home once they find holes in the foundation or crawl space of your house.
Water under driveways can cause the same issues as water under a house’s foundation or in the crawl space. Cracks, holes, and shifting can occur, which can damage vehicles and create tripping hazards.
During heavy rain, water overflows clogged gutters and runs over landscaping. Not only can water wash away mulch, but it can also severely damage flowers, shrubbery, and trees.
When gutters are clogged and temperatures drop below 32 degrees Fahrenheit, ice can cause severe issues. Clogged gutters will become heavy and can pull away from the home causing damages. If water has run over the gutters and onto a deck, patio area, driveway or sidewalk, it can freeze and cause a dangerous slipping hazard.
When water overflows in gutters, it will drip down the sides of the home and eventually find its way inside. The water damage may not be noticeable because it is behind the siding, in window frames, or under flooring until significant damage is done.
Damaged Soffits & Fascia
The combined weight of standing water and debris cluttering the gutters can damage soffits and fascia of the house. Cracks allow water into the home, which is another way water damage can occur.
Algae & Moss
When gutters are riddled with debris and water, they become a prime location for algae and moss to grow since they thrive in damp places. It will become unappealing to look at and can cause damage to parts of the roofing system.
There are several ways standing water can cause roof damage. First, shingles that come in contact with water in clogged gutters will deteriorate sooner than the rest of the roof. Once these shingles become saturated, the roof deck becomes damaged. If the damage goes undetected, the home’s insulation will become wet, and eventually, water finds its way inside, creating water damage in the ceilings and walls.
Other Consequences of Unclean Gutters
The water damage and fissures in the home are also going to mean mold in the home and higher pollen counts, which can make life more difficult for family members who suffer from allergies or weak immune systems.
Voiding Home Warranty
Many home warranties have a stipulation that homeowners need to conduct regular gutter cleanings and failing to comply with this policy may result in the homeowner paying for roof repairs or the installation of a new roof out of pocket.
While minor in comparison to structural damage, mold, and pests, homeowners should pride themselves in the appearance of the exterior of their home. Neglecting gutters can be a bad idea because clogged gutters lead to damage, and it appears dirty and untidy.
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