When gutters work, it’s often the case of “out of sight, out of mind.” If they don’t leak, aren’t streaked and are dent-free, it’s easy for a homeowner to skip cleaning the gutters in the fall. But neglected gutters can make a home vulnerable to water damage in ways you might not expect.
Depending on how long the gutter system has been neglected, gutter channels can become clogged with silt, debris and plant growth, including moss. Soil and/or landscaped areas around a house protect the foundation from exposure to the elements, the effects of frost, and the pressure of mud (wet earth). Clogged gutters typically overflow and when they do, the water lands close to the foundation, leading to soil erosion.
Constantly overflowing gutters, missing gutter sections or damaged gutter sections do not properly direct water from the roof to the ground. Over time, a neglected gutter system depositing water too close to the foundation could eventually damage it, causing it to shift, crack or sink.
It’s not just about clogged gutters causing the system to overflow and then the water landing in the basement. Gutters that haven’t been cleaned regularly might weigh heavier due to standing water and accumulated debris. Added weight allows sections to pull away from the fascia, letting the water escape behind rather than into the gutter.
Whether it’s in the gutter channel, on the ground, or underneath the downspout, standing water can be an inviting breeding ground for insects, including mosquitoes.
If water isn’t being safely directed away from your home by the gutters and downpipes, then it’s ending up in places where mold can grow. Mold, whether inside the basement or on the exterior of your home, can affect a person’s health. Mold growth also comprises a building’s envelope by damaging siding and significantly degrading insulation.