Clogged Gutters & Water Damage
It’s that time of the year when leaves are falling from the trees and filling our gutters. It’s important to clean your gutters and remove the leaves, in order to prevent water problems in the winter and spring. Gutters clogged with leaves can cause 2 different water problems.
If your gutters are clogged with leaves, water from rain or melting snow cannot freely flow off your roof and an ice dam can form when the temperature dips below freezing. An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents additional melting snow from draining off the roof. As snow melts from your roof, either by the heat of the sun, or by heat escaping from your home, it tends to refreeze at the edges and other juncture points of your roof. The refreezing water has a damming effect creating an even bigger ice dam behind it. Continuous feeding of the ice dam by melting and refreezing snow melt can cause significant damage. As the water seeps under shingles it refreezes, expanding and creating an even bigger gap for future drainage to fill and further the cycle. Your shingles are being raised and eventually the water that backs up behind the dam, and underneath the shingles, can leak into your home and cause damage to walls, ceilings, insulation, and create a perfect environment for mold growth. In extreme cases we have seen water pouring down into living areas when winter rain falls on the ice dam. To see a graphic of how ice dams work, see our blog post from January 14, 2020.
In warmer weather, clogged gutters can also cause water problems in your basement. In an April 21st, 2020 blog post, we discussed the importance of proper grading around your home to keep water from rain and melting snow flowing away from your foundation and home. Downspouts help to direct rainwater from your roof away from your home. If the gutters are clogged, water can pour over the gutters versus going into the downspouts and flowing away from your home. Water by your foundation is never a good thing. It can compromise your foundation and have a way of finding itself in your basement. In addition, repeated episodes of water pouring over your gutters can cause erosion of the ground around your foundation, which can cause low spots near your foundation furthering the cycle. In that same blog on April 21st, 2020, we shared a great video on the proper slope around your home.
Ideally, you should clean your gutters twice a year, in the spring and in the fall.