Effects of a Heat Wave on Your Gutter System

While the intense unseasonal temperatures of the heat dome have eased a little in Vancouver and the surrounding area, other places in the province are still feeling the affects of drought-like conditions. Scientists say that the unprecedented heat combined with climate change could be the reason why some trees are drying out and shedding their leaves. As leaves turn brown and drop off the trees, debris can land in gutters and on the roof. The Lower Mainland hasn’t had any rain since mid-June. The extreme dry weather can inflict other types of damage on your home’s exterior. Here are tips to help your roofing system survive a heat wave.

Falling Leaves

Leaves, twigs, and bits of debris that collect in the gutters in between spring gutter cleaning and the one in the fall can still pose a threat to your home’s safety, especially in a heat wave. Particularly if you have a number of trees growing close to the house, and two or more become severely dried out, a lot of very dry debris could be deposited on the roof and in the gutters.

All it takes is one little spark. Sweep off the roof if leaves and branches have collected in the roof valleys and/or exposed to direct sunlight for extended periods of time. Removing the debris from out of the gutter channels will help eliminate a potential fire hazard.

Falling Trees

If trees have become dried out enough to shed their leaves in the summer heat, then the roots might have been affected as well. Give the trees in your yard a good soaking with a garden hose, but only early in the morning or later in the evening when it’s cooler. Check to see if watering helped. Keep on out for any further damage such as vertical cracks, blistering bark, dead branches, or leaning. Depending on the extent of the damage, in particular if the leaning is obvious, the safest course of action might be to remove the tree before it becomes a falling hazard.

Buckling Gutter Sections

While all gutter materials are prone to thermal expansion, aluminum gutters and aluminum seamless gutters tend to expand and contract in response to temperature changes more than other types of gutter systems. Gutter runs of 40 feet to 50 feet (all materials) can be more vulnerable to buckling. Buckling occurs when gutters expand to the point where hangars no longer keep the gutter sections in place, resulting in distortion. Before the heavy rains return, buckled sections will need to be replaced in order to maintain the integrity of the gutter system and help to fully protect your home.

Soil Erosion and Dry Weather

While soil erosion manifests itself over time, the intense heat of the heat wave might worsen the condition around the foundation as the soil continues to lose moisture during long periods of no rain in the Lower Mainland. The main indicator that you might have a serious problem is visibility – if you can see more than four to six inches of the foundation, depending on the grading around the house, the foundation has become too open to the elements. If the soil near the foundation is just a little thirsty, water the soil and landscaping near the base of exterior walls, leaving a space of 10 or more inches away from the foundation.