Why it’s important to clean your gutters before winter

shutterstock_306643763The weather conditions can be particularly adverse during the winter months and it’s therefore important to try and protect your home from potential damage the best you can.

One of the easiest things you can do to avoid paying out for costly repairs is to properly maintain your gutters. Your gutters work by moving water and debris away from your house, thus protecting it from damage caused by settling water, mould and decay.

As well as this, there are a number of other reasons why you shouldn’t ignore your gutters in the run-up to winter and below we have listed a few of them.

Pest control

A broken or blocked gutter results in backed up, stagnant water as well as the accumulation of fallen leaves. This can attract unwanted animals and insects who can cause damage through nesting or by gnawing away at your gutters.

Protect against water damage

Gutters prevent your home from incurring water damage by directing any rainfall away from your property. This is particularly important during winter when there tends to be more rain and melting ice.

Water damage can cause huge problems including mould and mildew and it can even weaken your home’s walls and foundation. Try to ensure that you regularly inspect your gutters for corrosion, broken fasteners and separation between connections and where the gutters meet the fascia board.

You can either maintain your gutters yourself or ask an expert to take a look. The benefit of using a professional however is that they are more likely to spot things that you could miss and you may not even know how to recognise the signs of a potential problem.

shutterstock_284533004It’s safer

Whether you’re inspecting your gutters yourself or you have enlisted the help of a professional, it’s much safer to do this while the weather is milder. During the winter months, conditions may become icy and slippery which poses a huge risk when working off the ground.

Debris can freeze

Any water and debris that is left sitting in your gutters when the temperature drops could freeze. The obvious problem with this is that fresh water won’t have anywhere to go and it may end up accumulating around your home which is the very thing you’re trying to avoid.

Because water expands when it freezes, another obvious problem this poses is that it could cause your gutters to crack. This means that water will simply drop down onto your house rather than flow away from it.

Another issue is that water can back up under the shingles and cause ice damming and water damage to your roof. Properly maintaining your gutters not only protects them but it can also prolong the life of your roof and prevent any water seeping through it into your home.

If your gutters are in particularly bad shape and you don’t think they will survive the winter, there are a number of replacement options available. Gutters are now available in a wide range of materials including cast iron, extruded and pressed aluminium, cast aluminium and galvanised steel to suit the needs of you and your home.