It can be easy to fall into the “out of sight, out of mind” trap when it comes to your gutter system. If there has been no obvious problem, you could think the gutters are just fine and don’t need cleaning. To avoid costly damage to the inside of your home and your home’s exterior, even gutters that are relatively new (five years or under) require regular maintenance to keep them working properly. Before a real disaster occurs here are some signs your gutters need cleaning.
You can’t remember when.
If you can’t remember the last time the gutters were cleaned, your gutter system could already be causing you problems and you’re just not aware of it yet. The best course of action, in this case, is to hire a gutter cleaning service that will also conduct inspections. A thorough inspection before cleaning the gutters will identify any issues that might need immediate attention.
Bulging appears in one or more places.
Clogs in a gutter system, including the downpipes, can push water down and around the obstruction, causing the gutter section or downspout to bulge outward. Bulging typically affects the bottom of the gutter channel and can be easily seen when standing underneath the gutters and looking up.
Sagging gutters are another sign.
Related to bulging, debris buildup and clogs weigh the gutters down to such an extent that gutter sections pull away from the fascia, making gutters sag. Water-logged debris can become so heavy that it exerts enough stress to cause the gutter section to break away entirely. This leaves gaps in the gutter run, allowing water to fall directly on the ground, too close to the foundation or on to the siding where it can do water damage.
Mold or mildew on home exterior.
If mold/mildew shows up on fascia boards, soffits, roof shingles or interior and/or exterior walls of the foundation, it is typically an indication of moisture issues. When debris builds up in the gutters, forming clogs, the gutter system can overflow. Damp patches are the ideal breeding ground for mold or mildew.
Plants and trees grow in gutters.
Wet debris gradually breaks down into silt or sludge that is perfect for airborne seeds. When conditions are right, plants, small shrubs, and even trees can find a good home in your gutters. Plants and trees take a while to become established; if plant growth is advanced, check for visible holes where roots might have punched through.
You notice a foul odour.
Decomposing organic materials can make their presence known. If you notice a foul odour coming from the gutters, it could be due to the accumulation of sludge in the gutter channel.
You hear or see small animals.
Pests such as rodents and squirrels love gutters that need cleaning. Filled with bits of twigs, leaves, and pine cones, small animals have the materials they need to build a nest or have a meal. Another sign your gutters need cleaning is if you hear or see small animals on the roof of your house.