With warm temperatures and a few clouds in the sky, but no rain, it’s easy to assume the gutter system will be fine during the summer months. While certainly not as dramatic as clogs caused by autumn leaves or the winter wind storms the lower mainland is subject to, summertime is the ideal time to take note of what’s working and what isn’t. You can plan a trip to the beach or a mountain adventure, but there should be no summer vacation for your gutters.
Even if you’re in the habit of cleaning the gutters in the spring, the gutters should be checked for any debris that has collected in the gutter channel since the gutter system was cleaned. It isn’t uncommon for trees to lose their leaves in summer. The main reason for summertime tree leaf loss is if trees grow too many leaves, they drop them when the temperature is too hot or the air is too dry. Other reasons for trees dropping leaves in summer are the tree is sick (pest or disease) and overwatering or under watering (too much moisture or not enough).
Helpful hint: Take the time to remove the leaves from the gutters before fall adds more leaves and debris.
Moving In Day for Pests
Gutters filled with bits of twigs, leaves, and other types of organic matter, especially if they are damp, are attractive to birds, insects and small animals such as squirrels and mice looking for a new home. Standing water is an ideal breeding environment for mosquitoes. When debris is wet or you can see water inside the gutter channel, it’s a good indication that the gutters aren’t draining properly.
Helpful hint: Arrange for a free consultation with a gutter contractor to check for other problems unrelated to blockages caused by debris buildup such as improper gutter slope or issues as a result of poor installation techniques.
Broken or Damaged Gutters
Hail, broken branches, windy days or heavy rains can crack vinyl gutters and damage aluminum gutters. Unless missing altogether or obviously dented, often the damage isn’t visible. Leaking end caps, worn seams, old gutter hangers, and missing nails or fasteners are some other gutter problems that can go undetected unless you’re up close and personal.
Helpful hint: Take advantage of the nice weather to thoroughly inspect the gutters for broken sections and other kinds of damage. Either DIY the necessary repairs or replacement or hire a gutter professional to do them for you.
Just One Spark
Dry leaves hanging out in the gutters can be bad news for your home. Long summer days without a drop of rain can turn debris into tinder with just one spark.
Helpful hint: Check the gutters for dried out debris. Remove any twigs, leaves, etc. to prevent a fire hazard.
TLC for Downspouts
Sometimes it’s the gutters that get all of the attention. Don’t forget that downspouts can become clogged as well. Other things that can go wrong with downpipes include becoming misaligned, becoming detached, or depositing water too close to the foundation.
Helpful hint: Inspect downpipes from time to time throughout the year, but especially after a sudden summer storm (rain or wind). If you use downspout extenders, ensure they are properly attached and undamaged.
Dingy Looking Gutters
If you’ve had the gutter system cleaned in mid-Spring or later in the season, you might be surprised by dingy looking gutters so soon into summer. But environmental pollutants and general dust and grime can quickly accumulate. Surface dirt both inside and out can compromise the finish or coating that makes aluminum gutters, for example, rust resistant.
Helpful hint: Once the gutters are free of debris, clean them with a solution of liquid detergent and an oxidizing bleach.