Roof gutter with ice

Preparing for Winter: Why Should You Clean Your Gutters?

Summer is a season for the West Nile virus, which spreads via mosquito bites. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shares 13 states have reported infections of this virus in mosquitoes as of June 11, 2019. These insects could be living in your clogged gutters right now, increasing your risk of getting infected with the virus.

Gutter cleaning not only minimizes your risk of West Nile virus infection this summer but also prepares your home for the icy season. The frequency for cleaning would depend on the weather in your location; Ogden, for example, gets an average of 41 inches of snow per year compared with the national average, which is 28 inches. Which means you’ll need more frequent gutter cleaning in Ogden than in Bangor (Maine).

Although winter is still a few months away, it’s ideal to prepare your home while the weather is warm and dry. Otherwise, you have to deal with bigger problems when the temperature drops.

Gutters are Prone to Winter Damage

Your gutters, together with the pipes and roofing, can accumulate snow that leaves costly damage. Clogged gutters can cause ice dams on your roof and gutter edge, which leads to accumulation of an unusual amount of snow and ice.

An ice dam occurs when the water freezes on the gutter because it doesn’t drain properly. This may be due to a malfunctioning gutter system. If left untreated, the ice dam can cause more problems, including:

  • Tearing off gutters completely
  • Ruining and saturating your shingles
  • Dumping water inside your home

Additionally, clogged gutters can damage your roof. It will spill water directly onto your roof when it’s raining. This will rot your roof quickly, which can lead to insulation problems that can cause mildew and mold buildup in your home.

Clogged Gutters Can Affect Your Property

Apart from winter damage, clogged gutters can cause problems that impact the environment. Overflowing water, for instance, can ruin the flowerbeds and other plants nearby because it hits the ground forcefully.

The same problem damages the foundation of your home over time. Overflowing water seeps into your home’s foundation, making it unstable. Excessive water can also cause cracks on the foundation that can eventually collapse it.

Gutter systems normally use wood as a building material because it’s an environmentally friendly alternative to plastic and aluminum. But this material is given to damage from the water your gutters have accumulated. Water can seep through the busted material and start damaging your home’s interior.

Preparing Your Gutters for the Cold Season

Ice on roof and gutters

Get your gutter ready for winter, so your roof will keep on draining, and the water flows freely throughout the season. Keep in mind that cleaning your gutter is a dirty and dangerous job. It’s best to work with professionals to get the job done correctly the first time around.

Here are some ways to prepare your gutters for the winter:

  • Remove leaves and other debris
  • Mount a gutter hanger for sagging gutters
  • Seal leaking end caps
  • Place gutter covers
  • Build gutter and roof heating cables

Cleaning your gutters can be a chore, but repairing the damage that might occur during the winter can be costly and more difficult to handle. So make gutter clearing a priority for your winter preparation tasks. It keeps yourself and your loved ones safe from virus-carrying mosquitoes and prevents some winter damage.