The Dangers of Leaving Debris in Your Gutters

Your home is your biggest investment, and all Alabama property owners know that it takes time and effort to keep that investment safe, comfortable, and in excellent condition. Cleaning your gutters is one of the jobs that homeowners may disregard or forget about. However, it is actually a crucial task that doesn’t take a lot of time, effort, or money. Clogged gutters can lead to a headache of serious problems and severe consequences. Take a look below at the possible dangers of leaving debris in your gutters, what could happen to your home, and some preventative measures any property owner should take.

Roof Damage

A fully functioning gutter system is crucial for any roof system. A roof’s job is to protect you, your family, and your house from weather and harmful elements. If gutters can’t successfully divert water away from the property, a roof can’t perform its job sufficiently. If gutters are clogged there is a high risk of water pooling on the roof, which can cause the roof to rot, as well as cracking and leaking. If a roof begins to rot or leak it can become expensive to repair, as well as cause mold and mildew, which can lead to serious health problems.

Basement Flooding

If water starts to pool around your foundation due to clogged gutters, it can find its way into your basement or even the lower floor and cause serious damage to your interior and exterior. Basement flooding is a serious problem and is also a serious health and safety risk. Foundation repairs are known to be one of the most expensive repairs for a home. Not only can the water cause serious health problems due to mold and mildew, it can also reach your home’s wiring, causing severe risks such as gas leaks and electrical shocks.

Soffit and Fascia Board Damage

Fascia boards are located on the exterior of the home’s structure, and they are used to support the gutter system. These boards are mostly made of wood, making them vulnerable to damage or rotting. When gutters are clogged or filled with water, that water can damage the soffit and fascia boards, causing them to rot and deteriorate. This deterioration results in substantial damages to the structure of your home, making it costly to repair, as well as potentially molding and mildew.

Foundation Issues

In addition to the basement, water can also seep into the homes foundation. If gutters are clogged, they can’t lead the water away from your home, which can cause the water to pool around your property. This can result in water seeping below the ground, ultimately into your foundation. The water will cause expansions and cracks in the foundation, affecting the structural integrity of your home. 

Shifts and Cracks in Driveways and Sidewalks

One of the most common issues that is caused by clogged gutters is the water seeping and pooling on driveways and sidewalks, eventually getting under them. More so, this water can also cause driveways and sidewalks to expand and crack, leaving you again with expensive repair work. These cracks and shifts in the driveways can also be a safety hazard for you and your family, so it’s important to prevent this from happening.

Damaged Landscape

When gutters are clogged, the water becomes blocked, not being able to flow away from your home. When this occurs, that water overflows out of the gutters into areas around the foundation and landscaping like flower beds, gardens, trees or shrubs. If this happens, the water will wash away your mulch and your plants could be killed, and harmful pests can be attracted as well. Aside from damaging your curb appeal, you will be left with a significant landscape problem, that will be time-consuming and very costly.

Ice Dams

During the colder seasons of the year, there is a risk of ice dams forming on your gutters and the lower edges of your roof. This occurs during cold and wet seasons when low temperatures cause the water in your gutters to freeze. When your gutters are clogged, there will be a greater amount of water present because it’s not draining properly. This greatly increases the risk of ice dams forming, which can lead to water pooling. This can cause the water to seep into your home when the ice melts.

Fire Hazard

One of the least talked about dangers that homeowners may not know about is how debris and clogged gutters can become a fire hazard. While it’s not very common, it’s still possible and therefore should not be ignored. Any accumulated debris that’s in your gutters can become a fire hazard, especially in dry areas, during hot and dry weather. Secondly, if the water from the clogged gutter seeps into your basement and reaches your electrical wiring, you also have the risk of electrical fires.

Mosquitos, Termites, and Other Pests

Mosquitos are attracted to any standing water, so if your gutters are clogged that is a perfect place for them to breed and multiply quickly. Mosquitos aren’t just annoying, they also carry dangerous diseases that can be passed to you and your loved ones if bitten. Damp and decaying leaves also provide the perfect breeding grounds for termites and carpenter ants. They can make quick work by eating through the wood of your roof system down into your home and through your walls if left unchecked. Bees are also drawn to standing water in clogged gutters and tend to build hives there. Rats, mice, and other small rodents or mammals are also attracted to pools of water. If it has been a dry week and your gutters are clogged, these animals might turn to your gutters as a water source. They can also build nests from the decayed leaves and other debris in the gutter. Rodents can cause damage to your roof or fascia from the constant chewing. Keeping your gutters clean is one of the best things you can do to prevent infestation of pests.

Preventative Measures to Take

In order to avoid all of the above dangers of clogged gutters, as well as saving yourself and your family from safety risks and costly repairs, it is crucial to take preventive steps. This can be done by inspecting and cleaning your gutters regularly throughout the year. While many believe this can be done yourself if you have a ladder, we suggest hiring a professional to perform the gutter cleaning for you. A second option for Alabama homeowners is installing gutter guards. Gutter guards are designed to help keep debris out of the gutters, allowing your gutter system to operate sufficiently and prevent these dangers from happening. If you have any additional questions, or would like to talk to a professional gutter company in Alabama, give us a call today!

2 thoughts on “The Dangers of Leaving Debris in Your Gutters”

  1. It really helped when you elaborated on avoiding foundation and basement issues during the rainy season. Last week, I visited my sister’s house and noticed that her gutters looked like they were about to fall into pieces, so I’ll email your post to her right now. Thanks for the tips on preventing debris from clogging your gutters to avoid structural issues.

    1. usacrocker

      Thank you for sharing! Sorry to hear that about your sister’s gutters, but maybe this blog will help her.

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