The to-do list can seem never-ending when you’re a homeowner. As the weather begins to warm up, Marylanders begin to think about all the new “list items” to add when the shovels move to the back of the garage and the mower takes center stage.
When it comes to home upkeep, prevention is the key to reducing unexpected repairs, conserving the investments in your home, and maintaining property values. Letting home maintenance tasks pile up on your mental calendar can not only result in personal stress and feeling overwhelmed but can also lead to extensive damage – which always puts a large dent in the savings account.
Damage on every level from roof leaks to washed-out flower beds; ice damming to structural foundation cracking may result from one major home maintenance task that cannot be delayed or ignored. The semi-annual cleaning and inspection of your home’s gutter system is the first step to a safe and structurally sound home.
5 Home Maintenance Tips to Keep Your Maryland Gutters in Great Shape
With an average of a whopping 59 inches of precipitation including rain, sleet, snow, hail, and ice, Maryland sees all four seasons – and those beautiful times of the year can do a number on your home’s gutters and downspouts. Make the time to maintain them throughout the year to ensure they remain in good working order and perform as they were intended – keeping your home water-damage free.
Perform Regular Inspections of Your Home
Take a stroll around your home after every one of the spring and summer thunderstorms that Maryland homeowners contend with and perform a visual inspection of your home from the top down.
Take notice of any large branches that may have landed on the roof or the gutters, grab a stepladder, and safely remove them. While your eyes are already closer to the gutter system, check for any damaged channels including those that are bent, rusted, or starting to detach from the home due to storm damage or increased weight.
During your inspection, look for any signs of water accumulating or draining where it shouldn’t, like near the foundation of your home, dripping down between the fascia and the gutters, and along the exterior walls of your home. Heavy rainfalls can lead to an accumulation of debris around the property and within the gutters, but analyze whether a failing gutter system may be partly to blame.
Inspect your home not just after storms, but seasonally as part of your annual home maintenance routine because while spring and summer are the common times of year for natural gutter damage, issues can arise during fall and winter as well. In Autumn, leaves are the common culprit for clogging drainage systems and if left unattended, can cause ice damming during the harsh Maryland winters.
Ice dams place extreme pressure and extra weight directly on the roof as a result of poor gutter maintenance and cleaning. Snow trapped on the roof can partially melt and attempt to drain into the gutters, but when they’re clogged, the water refreezes and traps the melted snow. This condition can lead to massive winter roof leaks and even a potential collapse.
Conduct Semi-Annual Gutter Cleaning
Gutter installation and cleaning experts concur that twice per year is ideal for a gutter cleaning schedule as part of your home maintenance plan. If your home is located in a more rural or wooded area, you may find it beneficial to clean them more often to reduce clogging and damage.
Many property owners are not able or do not have the time to take an entire weekend off to clean their gutter system and rely on expertly-trained gutter cleaning technicians to take care of the dirty work. Call your local professionals for more information and don’t forget to ask if they are fully insured and offer a gutter protection plan to guarantee their work.
Avoid Gutter Upgrades with False Promises
Maryland homeowners may be tempted to purchase and install gutter guards onto their existing gutter system with the promise that they will eliminate the need for semi-annual gutter cleaning – however, that is far from the case. While gutter guards do keep large items like tree branches and leaves from blocking draining rainwater, the material perfect for clogging gutters can still get through.
Dust, dirt, and small seeds form stiff and durable gutter clogs when mixed with rainwater. If gutter guards are installed at the time the gutter begins to spew water up and out of your system, you’ve got a larger problem. Not only is the water soaking into your roofing material and foundation, but the gutter cleaning experts must also remove and reattach the gutter guards during the cleaning process, causing an increase in your final cleaning invoice.
Check for Loose Gutters and Downspouts
Over time and with much debris building up in the gutters and downspouts, the excess weight can cause them to become loose and semi-detached from the home. Tighten up the fasteners and straps that hold those crucial items securely against the home to prevent water from dripping down between or separating themselves completely during the next powerful Maryland storm.
Perform Regular Maintenance
Just as you perform regular maintenance during your deep seasonal home cleaning, the same is required for your gutter system. A small, almost unnoticeable issue can become a larger issue quickly. Completing your regular maintenance and repairs as needed – no matter how small or insignificant they may seem can prevent disastrous problems down the road.
Marylanders who are not well-versed in gutter maintenance may find it helpful to call in the pros for some assistance. Companies like Ned Stevens Gutter Cleaning can inspect your gutters while cleaning them and make any needed repairs on site, on time, and on budget.
While maintaining and cleaning your home seems like an endless list of chores that many Marylanders dread, it has extreme long-term benefits. Greatly reducing the risk of massive home damage starts with a well-functioning, maintained, and clean gutter system.