Tips for Cleaning Your Gutters and Stopping Water Damage

September 20, 2021
Gutter Cleaning in Seattle

Blockages in your gutters can cause a lot of issues that are frustrating and expensive to fix. If you don’t regularly clean the gutters, they can create ice dams and damage your foundation. It could also trigger moisture problems that could put your family’s health at risk. Here are some dangers of clogged gutters and how to prevent blockages and damage to your home.

How Defective Gutters Cause Water Damage

It is always advisable to keep the gutters clear of leaves and debris. As the system that channels water away from the roof, gutters need to be free of obstructions that can lead to flooding around your property.

Foundation damage is one of the issues homeowners must contend with if they neglect maintenance. When there is standing water, it can facilitate erosion. The water gradually washes away layers of soil, forcing the ground to shift.

The building can develop cracks due to the shifting foundation and fluctuating temperatures. The flooding tends to weaken the concrete and allows the rotting of wooden materials. Eventually, the damage will compromise the structural integrity of your home.

Blockages in the gutters may also encourage mold and mildew to spread through the basement, foundation, carpet, and flooring. Microbial growth can be a considerable risk, especially if some people in the building have respiratory complications. If there are signs of gutter damage, consider consulting Brennan Heating & Air Conditioning’s repair team in Seattle.

Preventing Winter Ice Dams

Clogged gutters are often responsible for the accumulation of ice on the roof. As the ice melts, it can seep into areas under the roof’s structure, damaging shingles, drywall, and electric wiring.

By removing debris from the gutter, you’ll be channeling the melting ice through the drain. You can minimize the damage to your property through periodic maintenance. Professional roofers recommend cleaning the gutters and downspouts at least once a year.

Signs It’s Time to Clean Gutters

Fall is the best time to schedule a cleaning of your gutter system. As the cold season approaches, it is wise to clear the debris and prepare your roof for winter.

However, you ought to also clean the gutters whenever you spot signs of neglect. Additionally, environmental and climatic factors may influence the frequency of maintenance tasks.

One sign that shows a neglected gutter system is a plant growing around it. For plants to thrive, there must be dirt and organic matter to support their growth. As water flows into the gutter, it carries considerable amounts of debris and leaves.

As plants grow, they may come with pests, mold, and mildew. If there are streaks of gray on the fascia board, it is a sign of mold infestation.

Detached or sagging gutters cannot channel water to the drainage efficiently. If you have aging gutters, consider scheduling repairs or a replacement.

Tools You’ll Need and Falling Hazards

Before you can start cleaning your gutters, you should collect the tools you need. There are different ways to remove debris, but a sturdy ladder is essential for the task.

You must always be cautious when working on the roof. A fall can damage parts of the structure, and you could sustain injuries. Ensure the ladder is secure before using it.

Some gutters are in high places on homes with multiple stories or carports. You can use a ladder stabilizer for additional support and safety.

There could be plants, pests, and debris, so it is wise to wear protective clothing. You can use a plastic scoop to remove the dirt. Lay down a sheet cover on your lawn to collect debris from the roof.

How to Clean Gutters

Depending on the tools you have, there are several ways you can clean gutters. Using a garden trowel, you can scoop out the debris by hand. Pour water down the channel to clear any remaining dirt. If there is clogging, you can use a plumber’s snake to break off the debris.

Cleaning the gutters by hand can be risky since it requires getting on a ladder. Another alternative is to use a garden hose, as long as it has the right attachments. You can flush water down the gutter, starting from the higher side. If there is any remaining debris, you will have to use a firm brush to wash it out.

After cleaning, examine the gutters for signs of sagging or leaning. If there is sagging, you can support the structure with cables or a hanger. However, if there is extensive damage, consider calling a professional before the onset of winter. Brennan Heating & Air Conditioning’s professional can repair gutters and downspouts to stop flooding in your Seattle home.

Cleaning with a Power Washer or Leaf Blower

When there is clogging down the downspouts, using a hose or a trowel can be challenging. A more powerful tool like a power washer is much more effective for such blockages.

To remove clogging, point the nozzle toward the downspouts. The force of the power washer will push down the obstructions. You may then pour water down the gutter to clear the remaining debris.

You can use a leaf blower the same way if you have the right accessories. A fine-spray nozzle is necessary to direct the force toward the obstruction. You can use longer attachments when you don’t have a ladder.

Be careful not to spray leaves and create a mess when cleaning your gutters. Some twigs and plant matter can find their way back into the downspouts. Water flowing down the side of the roof can ruin paint and impact your home’s curb appeal.

Protecting Gutters from Further Blockages

Other than cleaning, there are other steps you can take to reduce incidences of blockages and water damage. You can add covers to manage the amount of debris that goes down the gutters. For seamless gutters, ensure that there are no leaks on the end cap covers. Use a quality sealer to stop the leaking.

Clogged gutters are the leading cause of ice dams. But other factors, such as the attic’s insulation, can increase the severity of the damage.

In Seattle, the R-value for attic insulation is between 38 and 60. Also, ensure that there is adequate ventilation to dissipate the heat in the attic and prevent ice dams. Exposure to warm air will cause the ice to melt, increasing the work for your gutters.

Warm air from the interior could also be leaking from holes and cracks on the side of the wall. Fixtures and pipes around your home should have adequate weather stripping. You can consult a professional from Brennan Heating & Air Conditioning to examine your gutters and address insulation problems in Seattle.

The maintenance process should ideally be performed during the fall. That way, your roofing will be ready for the cold season ahead. When removing debris from the gutter, pay attention to any signs of deterioration. Schedule a repair service to address sagging or leaking before it causes further damage to your property.

Brennan Heating & Air Conditioning is an A+ rated BBB-accredited company in Seattle providing a full range of electrical, plumbing, and HVAC solutions, including repair, installation, and maintenance. As a Lead-Safe EPA certified firm, we care about keeping your home safe. Our exceptional craftsmanship and customer service have earned us an Angi Super Service Award. Call us today for a 100% customer satisfaction guarantee.

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