Gutters protect your home from:
- Home and basement flooding
- Cracked/damaged foundation
- Infestations - Mosquitoes and other insects breed in standing water
- Mold - overflowing gutters create an environment for mold to flourish in crawlspaces and basements
- Erosion: Topsoil protects the foundation of your home. If water is not correctly diverted away from your home the topsoil will erode and leave your foundation vulnerable.
- Staining to the exterior of your home fascia, soffit, wood framing and outside walls as well as decks, patios, driveways and walkways
- Paint damage
- Rotting/Rusting of exterior building products
- Damage to landscaping fungi can damage or kill your flowers and trees
Gutters should be cleaned twice a year, in early spring and late fall.
"Have your gutters checked to be sure they aren't pulling away from the house. If they are, talk to a gutter installation professional about changing the spikes holding the gutters to screws. Screws do a much better job of holding the gutters in place," says Jim Radcliffe, co-founder of Medallion Inspections in Atlanta. "And make sure your downspouts are clear and not blocked by leaves, and that the water from gutters, downspouts, and around the house flows at least 10 feet away from your house."
Many homeowners prefer to clean their own gutters, while others hire a gutter expert to do the cleaning for a reasonable cost.The cost of hiring a professional to clean your gutters is a pittance compared to the money you'll spend on repairs to your home if they aren't functioning properly.
If you are cleaning the gutters yourself, make sure to check for rusted spots, dents and holes, broken gutter hangers, and disconnected joints. Repair or replace any problem areas.
For information on how to clean your gutters or decide whether you want to hire a professional, please see our article Should I clean my gutters myself?