Chances are every fall you’re busting the rake out of the storage shed and raking up leaves as they fall from the trees. And while leaves that fall onto your lawn can be fairly easily raked, bagged and put out on the curb, leaves are likely to fall in other places on your property too – like the roof and in your gutters. And any leaves that fall on your roof are almost certain to end up in your gutters.
In this post, we’ll discuss the dangers of falling leaves and the damage they can do when they accumulate in your gutters. We’ll also share how to prevent it from happening. Here’s a look:
The Dangers of Falling Leaves
Fall foliage may be a beautiful sight, but it’s not without some potential problems if you live in an area with plenty of trees. Specifically, leaves can land on rooftops, and from there they can enter gutter systems. And if they’re not removed from gutter systems frequently enough, they can cause some serious problems for your home. Here’s a look at some of those potential problems:
Clogging Gutters and Downspouts
Perhaps the biggest threat associated with falling leaves is how they have the potential to clog gutters and jam up downspouts. In order for gutters to flow freely, they need to be void of leaves and other debris. Otherwise, these obstructions will impede the flow of water runoff from the roof, likely causing water to spill over the gutter near the foundation. Additionally, leaves can clog downspouts, or the pieces of the gutter system that are responsible for carrying water from the horizontal-running gutters to the discharge point at ground level. Again, if downspouts are unable to perform as they’re supposed to, it’s going to impact the entire gutter system and create a greater likelihood of foundation degradation and property water intrusion.
Adding Excess Weight to Gutters
While leaves may seem light as they fall off trees, when they become wet and mix with other debris, they can become very heavy – so heavy that the excess weight put on your home’s gutter system can potentially cause the gutters to sag away from your roof line. This may not just lead to gutter damage, but it could also create a gap between the roof line and your gutter – and cause water to trickle down through this gap rather than into your gutters. This, too, can cause water to pool up near the foundation, leading to degradation and potential water intrusion.
Pest Infestations and Mold Growth
As leaves build up in gutters, the environment they create can serve as a welcome invitation to pest infestations. The likes of bees, hornets and wasps like to nest in damp areas, and while they may not be as destructive as other pests – they can be a major nuisance. Other pests that may take up shelter in your gutters include mosquitoes, ants and termites. Mosquitoes in particular like to nest in areas with standing water. Leaf-filled gutters and pooling water in the gutters could represent that perfect environment for them. In certain parts of the country, snakes may even get up into gutters to feed on any critters or pests that have made a home there.
In addition to a greater likelihood of a pest infestation, leaf-filled gutters and standing water can also lead to mold and mildew growth. This can impact the appearance of your gutters and lead to premature replacement.
Leaves in gutters and winter weather also don’t mix. Just as how rainwater runs off the roof and into the gutters during the spring, summer and fall, snow melt needs to be able to drain properly during the winter months. Ice dams form when snow melt refreezes as it comes into contact with the gutter – and if gutters are clogged with leaves, then there’s the potential that any ice dam formations become that much more significant. If ice dams become too large, then water may seep through the roof shingles and boards, entering the attics and damaging ceilings within the home.
Property Water Damage
Finally, culminating leaves in your gutter system have the potential to result in foundation degradation and water intrusion. The weight of leaves in the gutters can cause them to pull away from the roof line, meaning water will fall in the gap between the gutters and the roof. Clogged gutters may cause water to pool within the system and then spill over once they become too full. This can disperse large amounts of water in select places around the foundation. If water buildup becomes too significant, it could enter basements or lower levels of the property. In the winter, clogged gutters due to leaf buildup can increase the likelihood of ice dams, which can result in water intrusion into the attic area.
Bottom line: If you want to significantly reduce your property’s water intrusion risk, making sure the gutters are clear and functioning properly is very important.
Prevent Leaf Problems in Gutters with Gutter Guards
As you can see, leaves can present some serious problems when it comes to how effectively your gutter system operates. The good news is that there’s an easy fix – and it doesn’t involve you regularly getting on a ladder and manually cleaning out the gutters on the regular. The easy fix is the installation of gutter guards. Gutter Guards from Gutter Boyz of Kentucky blocks leaves, branches, pine needles and other debris from entering your gutters, yet allows rainwater and snowmelt to pass through and the system to discharge roof runoff accordingly.
Give Gutter Boyz of Kentucky a call today for a FREE ESTIMATE at (270) 906-3055. Gutter Boyz of Kentucky serves most of Western Kentucky. For all your gutter needs, give us a call today!