by Jacklyn Renz
You hear the distant rumble of thunder. Then, a flash of lightning. Finally, the downpour hits. Is your house properly prepared for the onslaught of precipitation? What about the wind blown debris that comes with the passing days? One weapon that your home has at its defense is its gutters, more properly known as its storm drainage system. Read on to learn how to maintain your gutters, what prevention options are out there, and when to seek help.
Cleaning your home’s gutters is an important part of water damage prevention. If water isn’t properly draining through hindered gutters, then water build-up can happen. This accumulation of debris and water may weigh down your gutters so much that they begin to pull off of the home, thus rotting your trim and siding! Debris in the gutters also is a beckoning abode for carpenter ants and mosquitoes. A simple twice a year cleaning can prevent this. There are many contraptions on the market that claim to make the processes easier. Shop vac attachments, clamps on a rod, and even gutter robots. However, the tried and true method of climbing a ladder and using those two hands of yours will be the best and most thorough of methods. Finish the job by spraying your downspouts with a high pressured water hose.
An ounce of prevention can go a long way. Some gutter preventative measures out on the market these days include mesh filters, aluminum pieces with one opening, or metal coverings with holes. The big question on everyone’s mind is, “do they work?” It depends. The kinds of trees, the amount of trees, and what kinds of debris are normally clogging your gutters all come into play. Many of these designs will keep out the bigger leaves, but smaller pieces of nature may still make their way in. One thing is for sure, though - these preventative products do help with slowing the clogging process. The downside to these gutter add-ons is the expense, costing an average of $7 a foot, and the process of removing the guards when cleaning does need to eventually occur.
A fear of heights, lack of equipment, or being short on time can all be great causes for biting the bullet and hiring help. It’s also important to note that working on a ladder, especially at great heights, is a learned art, and a certain finesse is required as to properly place the ladder and then not to fall while working on it. The good news is that hiring help is not an expensive route to take, and will truly save you tons of work. The national average cost for gutter cleaning is right around $146, with the low end being around $60 and the costs topping off at $325. As always, we recommend shopping around for a company based on other homeowners’ reviews, company costs, and schedule compatibility. The benefits of hiring an experienced professional could save you stress and time and may very well be the route you choose to take for the duration of your home owning years.
Keeping your gutters and downspouts free and clear will save you money and headache in the long run by preventing bigger problems. It’s a process you can do yourself or hire help if you need it.