Few people enjoy climbing up on a wobbly ladder to spend their entire weekend scooping nasty handfuls of gutter gunk out of their rain gutters. It's one of the most neglected household chores for pretty obvious reasons: it's difficult, it's time-consuming, and it's dirty.
Most homeowners don't fully realize how crucial it is to keep their gutters clean and in good repair. They are your first line of defense against severe moisture damage, and the cost of having them annually maintained is a drop in the bucket compared to the astronomical cost of water damage mitigation.
But is it really that big of a deal? And if it is, why shouldn't you just take care of it yourself? We'll answer those questions below, as well as give you five reasons why you should have your gutters cleaned by a professional.
What Happens If You Don't Clean Your Gutters?
So... can a little trough nailed to the side of your roof eaves really make much of a difference to the security and stability of your home? In a word: yes. It actually makes a massive difference, and here's why.
When they're cleaned and in good condition, gutters collect the rainwater that falls on your roof, then channels it into downspouts where it can be safely disposed. That might not seem very impressive, but let's do a little math.
An inch of rainfall on a 1,000 square foot roof produces about 620 gallons of water. For comparison, an average bathtub holds around 60 to 80 gallons. Ann Arbor gets an average of 36 inches of rain per year (that's not counting snow). That means about 319 bathtubs worth of water pour down on your house every year—or much more, if you have a bigger roof.
When your gutters are stuffed full of dead leaves, dirt, animal nests, and other debris, all that water has nowhere to go and pours down the exterior of your house instead, leaving a path of destruction in its wake.
Here are some unpleasant things that can happen to your home with clogged gutters:
Water pools on the roof, eating away at it and causing leaks.
Moisture enters the attic through damaged fascia and soffit boards, rotting timber beams which can potentially cause serious structural issues.
The siding becomes degraded, letting moisture into the interior of your walls where it can encourage the growth of mold, mildew, and wood rot.
Window frames rot away, letting even more moisture in and creating drafts that raise your utility bill by forcing your heating and cooling system to work harder.
Water gathers in the soil around your foundation then freezes in the winter, expanding and constricting the foundation until the concrete cracks—eroding soil underneath the foundation so the house begins to sink.
Rats, squirrels, wasps, and other unwelcome pests find their way into your house through damaged eaves, siding, and window frames—bringing dozens of their little friends with them.
Trees, bushes, and flowers suffer from over-watering and other landscaping features such as driveways, pathways, and patios are damaged by excessive moisture.
Why Should You Hire a Pro for Gutter Cleaning?
Now that you're aware of the crucial importance of maintaining your gutters, you may be thinking of getting the ladder and garden hose out of the garage and sacrificing your weekend to get the job done. Hold up a moment, there. Gutter cleaning isn't as basic as it sounds, and there are some compelling reasons to leave it to a professional handyman.
1. Avoid Injury
While it might be possible to take care of a well-maintained gutter from the ground, if it hasn't gotten any attention in quite some time, climbing up a ladder—possibly dozens of times—will be necessary. If you're inexperienced or impatient, you can fall and seriously hurt yourself. You'll also be dealing with wet, rotted debris, and one misstep can cause you to slip and go flying. A professional handyman will be experienced with using ladders safely and trained on all required safety protocols.
2. Quick and Efficient
Doing it yourself only saves you money (in the short term) if your time is worth nothing. Cleaning gutters, especially ones that have been neglected for a while, takes a lot of time that you could be spending on the activities that matter most to you. The pros have the expertise, tools, and know-how to work efficiently—getting them sparkling clean in no time flat.
3. Know What to Look For
Because they are backed by years of experience with repairing damage to the exterior of homes, handymen will be alert for signs of damage that you may not catch, so they can give you advice and recommendations on the best course of action to get it fixed before the damage spirals into a much bigger problem.
4. Carry Out Repairs
When gutters are overflowing, the first thing to take damage is the trough itself. While they're up on the ladder, your handyman can test for breaks and weak points, then get them fixed correctly so the water can flow smoothly through the channel. They can also install gutter guards to help stop the trough from filling up so fast in the future.
5. Save Money
Anyone who has ever had to cope with issues such as mold, cracked foundations, rotten attic beams, damaged siding, and all the other awful things that can happen to your house when your gutters aren't maintained will tell you that water damage mitigation is no joke. The cost of annual maintenance is insignificant compared to the eye-watering costs of repairing severe moisture damage.
Trust My Handyman for Gutter Cleaning and Repairs!
Ready to schedule your annual gutter cleaning? We're ready to get started on saving your home from the evil scourge of moisture damage! My Handyman of Ann Arbor, Saline, and Chelsea provides full gutter repair, maintenance, and cleaning services.
Give us a call today at 734-666-3021, or request service online, and we'll show you what we can do to improve and maintain your home!