Hazards of Clogged Gutters

Cleaning the gutters in spring is necessary for several reasons including protecting the roof, the siding, and the structural integrity of your home. When gutter cleaning is neglected, debris buildup can lead to a number of serous problems that could result in costly fixes. Avoid these common hazards of clogged gutters by inspecting, cleaning, and maintaining your gutter system on a regular basis.

Foundation Issues

When clogged gutters constantly overflow, water that does not drain properly out of the gutter system lands in places it can cause problems for your foundation. Soil erosion exposes a foundation to the elements, leading to cracks appearing on the lower part of interior/exterior walls; the foundation sinking; or exterior walls and/or the foundation cracking and sinking.

Basement Issues

Overflowing gutters spill down the siding. If clogged gutters are ignored, the ground around the foundation becomes so waterlogged that the runoff can seep into your basement. A flooded basement and the ensuing water damage can result not only in loss of property but in costly repairs – even a small basement repair, particularly one related to compromised structural soundness, can be an expensive proposition.

Structural Damage

Using standard construction methods, most residential homes are framed. This means the basic structure of a home is wood. When gutter cleaning is neglected, leaking or overflowing gutters can seep into exterior walls and over time develop into wood rot. Fixing structural damage caused by water damage can be a logistical nightmare, not to mention expensive.

Damage to Hardscape Areas

Clogged gutters can do serious damage to a driveway, patio, and pathways. Like with soil erosion around a foundation as a result of clogged gutters, the same process can erode the dirt underneath an asphalt driveway, a concrete pathway, or the pavers of a patio.

Health Concerns

If the gutters don’t guide water safely through the system and out of the downspouts, water can trickle down siding and exterior walls. When moisture collects in cracks and fissures and is not allowed to evaporate mildew and mold can form on the walls inside your home or on your home’s exterior. Mold is a fungus that causes mild to severe reactions in a person – anything from a runny nose to having difficulty breathing.

Excess moisture from overflowing gutters or standing water inside gutter channels is the ideal place for bacteria to breed. Bacteria are responsible for a variety of conditions and illnesses such as asthma, Legionnaires disease, and allergic reactions.

Attracts Outdoor Pests

Standing water hanging around during spring and summer is a breeding ground for insects such as mosquitoes. It can also attract outdoor pests including birds, mice, and squirrels that like to build nests near a source of water.

Fire hazards

While the intense temperatures of last summer were not normal seasonal highs in the lower mainland, it is good to remember that hot, dry weather can turn gutters full of dried leaves, twigs, and debris into a fire hazard. All it takes is a small spark.