Rain gutters are one of the simplest but most effective improvements you can make to the exterior of your home. They route water away from your foundation, save the landscaping around the drip line, and prevent streams of water from raining down over entrances. They can also provide a safe harbor for breeding insects, rodents and birds. Choosing the right gutter options and maintaining them properly ensures you only experience the benefits and none of the drawbacks.
Seamless gutters are by far the best choice, especially if you have wooden eaves and fascia boards on your roof. Gutters without seams don't develop leaks. This preserves the wood fascia so it doesn't become damaged or prone to rot. In turn, this minimizes insect infestations. Many wood-boring insects are attracted to rotting wood.
If you don't have seamless gutters, inspect the seams regularly during heavy rain. Keep an eye out for any leaks, especially around the seams. Your gutter installer can reseal any leaky seams to help protect your roof line.
Keep Them Clean
Birds, insects, and rodents are all attracted to the cover and bedding material provided by leaf litter and debris in the gutters. Cleaning out the gutters twice annually – in spring and in fall – makes your gutters less appealing to these pests.
Regular cleaning also prevents gutter damage and leaks, thus prolonging the life and usefulness of your gutter system.
Monitor the Down Spouts
Down spouts often become clogged, even if you are meticulous about keeping the gutters clean. Debris or animal nests can block a down spout, causing water to collect in the gutters above. If you don't catch the pooling water quickly, it can lead to leaks and rotten fascia boards. Even if leaks don't occur, standing water in the gutters provides a prime breeding location for mosquitoes and other pests.
Pour water down each down spout when you are cleaning your gutters. If it doesn't come right out the bottom, you likely have an obstruction. You may be able to dislodge it with a high-force spray of water or a plumber's drain snake. If you can't clear the clog on your own, consult with your gutter installer for a professional cleaning.
Clear rain gutters work better and they last longer. They also help keep annoying pests away from your home, which prevents exterior home damage and an infestation of nuisance animals and insects.