Gearing up Your Gutters for Winter
With the approach of cooler temperatures, homeowners may sigh with relief, figuring those long hours in the hot sun performing outdoor work has ended, if only for a season or two.
But autumn brings a round of tasks that must be done before the temps drop and the snow falls. Removing window unit air conditioners, replacing weather stripping, closing-up the fireplace and a slew of other tasks form lengthy to-do lists that must be completed in the short autumn season.
Too often, amid all these activities, gutter maintenance falls to the wayside. But if ignored, clogged or underperforming gutters have the potential to wreak havoc on homes during the coldest months of the year. If gutters are not maintained properly, they can trap moisture and rot the wood boards of your home’s roof and siding. And their condition can impact the value of your home. Even if you haven’t experienced water damage to the structure of your house, gutters in poor condition can detract approximately $500 – $1000 from your home’s selling price.
Neglected gutters can be harmful to your physical health as well. Debris caught in gutters can decompose and generate mold. Standing water becomes a breeding ground for disease-carrying insects.
With that in mind, we reached out to Ken and Ryan Parsons, the sibling ownership team of The Brothers that Just Do Gutters, for their top five ways to get your gutters ready for the season ahead.
1. Leave Out Debris. Remove leaves and other debris from gutters. Waste will clog the gutter system and create an environment ripe for ice dams that degrade your home’s roof, walls, foundation and ability to insulate.
2. Stay on Guard. Consider adding gutter guards to your system to prevent such buildup in the first place. Gutter guards are available in brush, foam, screen or mesh, reverse curve and other styles. Brothers Gutters recommends and installs mesh gutter guards. Factors like budget, climate and proximity to sources of debris will determine what kind is right for you.
3. Heat Things Up. Installing a deicing cable as a heating system for your gutters and roof is a viable option to prevent ice dams and even melt away ones that have begun to form.
4. Hole in One. Identify any holes in your gutters and repair them. Leaks in your gutters will divert water from the appropriate downspouts and instead trickle down the side of your home. This can cause water damage like rot and mold as well as weaken your home’s foundation. You can make a patch with the same material as your gutters and install it with roofing cement.
5. Get Out of Your Slump. Check for sagging gutters and fix or replace them. Slumping gutters will cause a build-up of water and debris. Remove problem areas and replace damaged screws, brackets, or entire sections as needed.
While it is possible to complete some or all of these tasks by yourself, there is a risk, given that it usually involves a ladder, which, for multi-story homes, can require homeowners to ascend 16 feet or higher above the ground. Keeping in mind that falls off ladders are the number one cause for accidental injuries at home and account for more than 6,500 deaths every year, you might prefer to save yourself a good deal of time, effort and exposure to potential injury by hiring professionals.
As Ken Parsons explains, “A bill for roofing maintenance services is considerably lower than the cost of mold removal, a new roof or a hospital bill after a ladder fall.”
His brother Ryan adds, “Besides, you can keep the weekend to yourself and get peace of mind knowing your gutter system will function as it should.”
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