The air is getting a little crisper each day; small critters are running around, ensuring they have everything they need ready for the winter, and the falling tree leaves create a hallmark scene every time you walk out the door. It's safe to say Autumn is officially here.
While the falling leaves create a beautiful view, and the busy critters are cute, they can all collectively create havoc on the gutters that protect your home. Even if your home and gutters look in good shape, they can still have unexpected weak spots that can become more significant issues.
We know there are several autumn activities you'd rather be doing, but it's essential to do all that you can to keep your gutters clean, unclogged, and damage free for all the rain, sleet, hail, and snow to come.
Are Gutters Necessary?
Contrary to gutter salespeople, gutters are NOT necessary for your home, however, they can make a big difference in the longevity of your home, especially if you live somewhere that gets a regular amount of rain. Rainwater may seem harmless, but it can cause serious damage if gutters aren't there to divert it away.
Right now, you might think, if I didn't have gutters, wouldn't the water roll off the roof and water my plants for me? Not quite.
Without gutters directing water off your roof and down a downspout, those large droplets cause serious erosion damage over time. This erodes the soil around your foundation, erodes your garden or flower bed, and also causes splashing on the side of your home leading to some unsightly discoloration.
Aside from that, modern homes are also built to trap energy and save you money. That sounds great, except when it starts trapping moisture which can cause expensive problems and damage your home.
Picture this: the soil around your home's foundation is soaked from drainage water that didn’t get absorbed in the ground. Some of that moisture sneaks its way to your basement or concrete floor, and once it's inside your home, it gets absorbed into the air.
If it's winter, the air that is being warmed will absorb a large amount of that moisture, and that air will travel to spaces in your home that have cold surfaces, causing condensation.
You know that thing that happens when you've got an ice-cold drink on a hot summer day? Imagine that on your walls, in places you don't usually see. While this often happens on windows, and they are fine, in areas like walls and attics it can cause fungal wood rot, which can be expensive to repair. Moisture in the air can also harm you and your family and lead to increased cold symptoms and many diseases. Nobody wants that.
A great hero to protect your home against this are gutters. Having a functional gutter system prevents the following:
-Water damage to your roof that causes rot, deterioration, and mold in your shingles, soffit, and fascia.
-Condensation on your windows that can damage sills and interior walls.
-Water in your home's foundation or basement that can lead to erosion and damage.
None of that sounds like something you want for your home, and the best way to avoid it is by having the professionals at Faithful Gutters install a high-quality gutter system and take the steps each season to take care of it.
How do I take care of gutters in Autumn?
Now that you know how important gutters are to the care of your home, we can move on to how to take the best care of them so they can do the best job protecting your home.
1. Clean your gutters: Gutter cleaning doesn't have to be complicated. Get a ladder and give your hose one last warm weather hurrah by using it to remove all of the natural debris that has filled up your gutters and downspouts. If your gutters still have organic growth adhering to the bottoms or side walls, then get in there with a scrub brush and get rid of that grime. Trust us, having clean gutters will make all the difference.
2. Inspect gutters for any damage
Now that you have gone through the deep gutter cleaning process, you can more clearly inspect them for any damages since you last cleaned them or after big storms that have come through.
Check for any loose screws, cracks where leaks may come from, uneven sagging sections, rust, or any areas with excessive wear and tear.
It is also common for gutters to leak by the joints. This is where inside and outside corners are joined together by miters. Often times the caulking breaks down and no longer keeps a seal. Make a checklist for yourself of the following questions:
-Are the gutters sagging or pulling away from the house?
-Is the downspout loose?
-Are there cracks?
-Are there leaks?
-Is there rust?
Checking for damage will help you save money on more significant repairs in the future and will also let you know what you need to pay attention to now to be ready for the upcoming season.
3. Repair What is Needed
Once you've found the areas that need repairing, don't be a procrastinator gator; fix them as soon as possible. If you forget to fill up any small cracks or holes in your gutters, they could lead to worse problems later in the season when it's cold, and the last thing you want to do is spend your time outside fixing a big leak that was avoidable.
Leaks can lead to water and other debris going into the foundation and basement of your home, and as you read earlier, that opens a can of worms that you'd much rather not have to deal with.
That's not the only danger in not repairing damages you run into; Rain, ice, and snow are also coming in winter, and the weight of that can cause even more significant issues. It's best to make repairs as soon as you know of the problems.
4. Trim Tree Branches
We all love a beautiful autumn scene of orange-hued leaves falling, but our gutters don't care so much about the view as they do about being able to do their job efficiently. Look out for branches that have grown in the summer and are close to your roof or gutters; if you find some, trim them. Autumn breezes can blow leaves, nuts, and seeds right into your gutters and clog them up.
5. Go the Extra Mile and Keep Critters Away
All critters love a warm and cozy place to call home for the winter. When they're not out looking for food, they search for a place to set up camp. The concave areas of your gutters and covered exit of your downspout are prime real estate to them. While cute, you certainly don't want them in your gutter system.
Give them the news kindly but firmly by buying some rodent repellent and giving your gutter system a coat after cleaning and repairing it. They'll get the memo and set up their home somewhere else.
6. Install gutter guards
To help avoid clogs and having to clean your gutters often, you may want to consider installing gutter guards. Gutter guard covers act as shields for your gutters, protecting them from leaves and debris that can fall in, but they let water enter and exit your gutters smoothly. These protectors significantly reduce the amount of debris that builds up in your gutters over time, which means less work for you.
7. Call the Pros
If cleaning and repairing sounds doesn't sound like what you want to do on a beautiful autumn day, we are happy to take over. While you might want to save money, hiring professionals ensures that your gutter system will be cleaned or installed correctly.
You won't need to spend double the money on repairs later because something didn't get installed correctly and all the nightmarish possibilities we mentioned above happened to your landscape, house exteriors, and interiors. Avoid all that and contact us today for a free consultation for your gutter installation. We are always here for you and happy to help.