The Importance of Cleaning Your Gutters
Did you know that the average American spends about 42 hours every single month on household tasks? How are you using those hours around your own home? If you’re looking for ways to cut back on the time you spend on household chores, you might be tempted to put off cleaning your gutters. After all, is it really that important?
Keeping your gutters clean is one of the most important things you can do for your home. If you’re still not convinced, you’re in the right place to learn more. Continue reading this guide to learn more about the importance of cleaning your gutters and helpful tips to help you clean them safely.
Benefits of Cleaning Your Gutters
When you take the time to clean your Michigan gutters throughout the year, it can benefit your home in the following ways.
Prevents Flooding in Your Basement
As it turns out, your gutters can help protect the lowest level of your home. When your gutters are clogged to the point that they begin to overflow, the excess rainwater that spills over can gather around your basement. From there, the water can make its way into your basement, causing a flood.
When your basement floods, it can become a breeding ground for mold and mildew growth, which can trigger respiratory issues for your family members. Beyond that, flooding in your basement can cause damage to the interior walls, floors, furniture, and more, which can quickly lead to the need for expensive repairs.
Cleaning your gutters can help prevent rainwater from piling around your basement, so you don’t have to worry about flooding.
Improves Your Home’s Curb Appeal
Your home’s exterior is the first thing people notice when they come to visit. What kind of first impression is your home making? When you neglect your gutters, they will start to be noticeable to the naked eye.
Uncleaned gutters may start to pull away from the sides of your home, or even fall off completely. The overflow of water in your gutters can also stain your fascia boards, which detracts from your curb appeal.
This is especially important to keep in mind if you’re planning to sell your house in the near future. To help maintain your home’s curb appeal, take the time to clean your gutters so your exterior continues to look great.
Keeps Your Family Safe
You might be skeptical about this one, but hear us out. Dirty gutters can attract pets like mosquitoes around your home, which, although rare, can spread dangerous diseases.
Beyond that, decomposing organic matter that sits in your gutters can contaminate water and lead to mold and mildew growth that your family will be exposed to every single day. To help prevent these dangers, maintain clean gutters and keep your family safe.
Protects Your Landscaping
If you spend time on your home’s landscaping, don’t risk letting your gutters ruin it! When your gutters get clogged and overflow, the excess water can erode your soil and destroy your plants and flowers.
By cleaning your gutters and downspouts, you can ensure that unmanaged water won’t flow down into your landscaping, ruining it in the process. Again, this plays a part in your curb appeal, as nice landscaping makes for a clean and welcoming entrance to your home.
Protects Your Home Against a Leaking Roof
Your home’s gutters play an important part in diverting rainwater away from your roof and the rest of your home. But, if it’s been years since you last cleaned your gutters, they’ll likely be full of dirt, debris, and other gunk.
Unfortunately, when your gutters are clogged, rainwater on your roof won’t have anywhere to go. If your roof is older, this excess water can make its way into vulnerable spots, leading to water damage beneath your shingles and leaks in your home.
If left alone for too long, these leaks can lead to significant water damage that is inconvenient (and expensive) to repair.
Extends the Lifespan of Your Gutters
When you install new gutters on your home, it’s an investment and one that you should take the time to protect. One of the best things you can do to help your investment last is clean your gutters regularly.
Gutters that haven’t been properly maintained will start to accumulate dirt and debris over time. This excess weight can start to take a toll on your gutters, causing them to detach from the fascia boards, rust, and corrode.
By taking the time to clean them, you can help prevent that damage, ensuring that your gutters will last longer.
Extends the Lifespan of Your Roof
Along those same lines, cleaning your gutters can also help your roof last longer. This is especially true during our frigid winter months here in Michigan. During the winter, clogged gutters will trap ice, which adds extra weight and stress to your roof.
In the worst cases, this can cause your roof to collapse, meaning that you’ll need to schedule a full replacement. As we mentioned above, when water can’t drain off your roof and into the gutters, it will remain sitting on your roof.
During the winter, standing water on your roof can seep beneath your shingles and then freeze when temperatures drop. This can push your shingles apart, causing damage in addition to leaks when the water unfreezes.
By caring for your gutters, you can protect your roof and reduce the need for repairs or a full roof replacement.
Helps Eliminate Pests
Part of what accumulates in dirty gutters is twigs, leaves, and other debris. While these are an eyesore to humans, they are ideal nesting places for pests like birds, rodents, and insects. If you don’t take the time to clean out your gutters, you’re practically inviting these pests to make themselves at home in your gutters.
Sometimes, these animals and insects can carry dangerous diseases that put your family at risk. Beyond that, they can cause damage to your gutters while they’re living inside, potentially causing your gutters to pull away from your home.
Prevents Water Damage to Your Home
Finally, dirty gutters can lead to dangerous water damage in your home. When gutters can’t do their job of diverting water away from your house, it can lead to flooding at your foundation, which puts the structural integrity of your home at risk.
As we mentioned above, blocked gutters can also lead to roof leaks, which can damage the ceiling, walls, and floor inside your home. When water damage is left alone for too long, your home will become less stable, leading to a potentially dangerous living situation.
Helpful Tips for Cleaning Your Gutters
Now that you know why you need to clean your Michigan gutters, you need to be prepared for how to do it. Here are a few tips to help you safely navigate the cleaning process, which you should plan to do once or twice a year.
Gather the Right Supplies
Before you start, you need to make sure you have the right supplies for the job. We recommend using the following items:
- Water bucket
- Protective eyewear
- Garden hose
- Hand shovel
These items can help keep you safe while you clean your gutters.
Before you get started, make sure you’re safe. Put on a long sleeve shirt to protect your arms and use a tool belt so you can keep your hands free while still having the supplies you need.
It’s also a good idea to have a friend or family member on the ground, spotting you while you use the ladder and helping you stay stable.
Remove Debris and Rinse Your Gutters
Once you’re ready to get started, climb your ladder and use your gloved hands to remove large pieces of debris. For more stubborn pieces, you can gently use the hand shovel to remove what’s left, being careful not to scratch your gutters.
Once you have the big pieces of debris out, you can use the garden hose to rinse the gutters, pushing the water toward the downspout. This will help dislodge any remaining dirt and debris so your gutters are clear.
Check for Signs of Damage
Once your gutters are clean, visually inspect them to see if you notice any signs of damage like leaks, rust, or areas that are pulling away from the side of your home. If you notice any areas that look damaged, schedule a professional gutter inspection with the Atlas Home Improvement team.
We can evaluate the state of your gutters and make suggestions for repairs if needed.
Protect Your Michigan Gutters
After reading this guide, we hope you have a better understanding of the importance of cleaning your gutters and how to do it the right way. If you’d rather not take the time to clean them yourself, consider installing Gutter Helmet covers to protect your gutters from clogs without any extra work on your part.
To learn more about our gutter products and services or to schedule a gutter inspection with our team, contact us today. We look forward to working with you!