How can you tell if your gutters need cleaning?

A man taking autumn leaves out of gutters

It doesn’t seem like it should be that big a deal, does it? So what if your gutters are a bit clogged? So what if the water spills over the gutters? It’s just waters and leaves and dirt. What harm could any of that do?

The problem is that blocked gutters can cause a lot of harm. The gutters themselves can sag, the backed up water can, over time, cause your roof to rot and leak, or cause erosion at the foot of your foundations, which then means your foundations are open to the elements, which can cause subsidence and your walls to crack.

It seems that blocked gutters can have a big deal on the future of your house.

So how can you determine whether your gutters are actually blocked? Here are some signs that can clue you in to the state of your gutters.

Your Gutters Are Sagging.

Water is heavy, and when your gutters are blocked, that water has no where to go. Gutters are designed to be a transport system for water, not a support system. The water is meant to go from your roof to the underground drainage system, via your gutters and drainpipes, and that is it. When the water is blocked, causing the blockage itself to become water laden and heavy, the gutters are being asked to do something it wasn’t designed to do; support weight. Over time, the gutters will fail to handle this weight, and will sag away from the roof structure.

Water Is Overflowing Your Gutters.

If you are seeing water overflowing your gutters, it could be that you are experiencing a very intense rainfall event and your gutters can’t handle the amount of rain that is falling. If however, water is overflowing your gutters during a less than severe rainstorm event, this could be a clue that something is blocking the gutters, causing the water to back up and overflow.

You see plants growing from your gutters.

There are three things plants require to grow: sun, water and soil. If plants are growing from your gutters, they are receiving those three things. The sun’s not the problem, but the water and the soil is. Clearly, your gutter is blocked enough with soil and water that plat life has had time to take life. It is probably time you unclog your gutters.

Your gutters seem to be quite popular to wildlife.

If you notice rodents hanging around your gutters, you might have a blocked gutter problem. Why? Because rodents like the snug safety of the blocked vegetation within the gutter. The confines of the gutter and the blockage itself protects them from their predators.

Also, if you notice birds taking a particular interest in your gutters, that might be another clue that your gutters are blocked. Blocked gutters are usually full of vegetation and sticks and twigs … all of this is like a shopper’s heaven to a bird that is nesting. They come back again and again to take another piece of twig or vegetation back to their nest, and if you notice that happening, you need to get your gutters cleaned.

There are puddles at your foundations.

This is related to seeing water overflowing your gutters. Naturally, that water has to end up somewhere, and since it is not going where it is being directed to go ie. To the drainage system via the gutters, it is likely that the water ends up as a puddle near your foundations. As stated before, water at your foundations can cause erosion, which can damage the foundations.

So, all in all, there are good reasons for getting a professional gutter cleaning service in Canberra, and hopefully now you know those signs that somethings not quite right with your gutters.

Before you clean out your gutters yourself, consider these issues.

Perhaps you’ve noticed your gutters are overflowing in even the smallest rainfall, or you can see plants growing from your gutters. You think your gutters are clogged, and to save money, you decide to just clean them out yourselves. It can’t be that hard, right? Just climb a ladder and put in some elbow grease, and Bob’s your uncle – you’ve got clean gutters.

Well, before doing that, just consider a few factors. Cleaning your gutters could be more dangerous than you think, and perhaps you should consider getting a profession gutter cleaning company in to clean them for you.

Gutters are high off the ground. People die falling from heights.

Well, that is a duh statement, isn’t it? Obviously, gutters are high. That’s where the roof is! But to clean gutters, that’s where you have to be, also. It doesn’t take a fall from a great height to injure yourself. Movies have taught us to believe we can fall from a height, land on the ground, and get up and be as right as rain.

Movies lie. Re-consider working from heights if you are not used to it.

Working from a ladder is dangerous.

Unless you are an NBA basketballer living in a hobbit hole, you will need a ladder to reach your gutters.

So, first off, look at your ladder. Do you trust it with your life? Because, ultimately, that is what you are doing. Many people use ladders that are clearly not up to the task. Maybe they are old and rusted. Perhaps they are too short. Maybe one of the legs is longer than the other. If you can’t trust your ladder with your life, you should not climb it.

Next, take a look at your gutters. There is a reason you are wanting to clean your gutters. It’s because they’re blocked, usually with vegetation, dirt and debris and all manner of things. If your gutter is blocked, it is likely that the blockage is water soaked, as the water can’t flow down your drains to get away. Gutters are designed to let water flow on; they are not designed to support the continuous weight of water-soaked vegetation and debris. Gutters with large blockages may warp or sag or come apart from the roof.

Now that you know this, now that you know that blocked gutters could be unstable and damaged, take another look at your gutters. Do you trust your life that you can tell a strong gutter from a damaged one?

Finally, realise that to clean gutters, you need to take equipment up to and down from the roof. Unless you are experienced with climbing ladders carrying equipment, this can be very dangerous. It only takes one split second of lost concentration to cause a serious or possibly fatal accident.

You don’t know what might be in your gutters. Have you got protective equipment?

The stuff you are trying to get out of your gutters could be the stuff that causes you the most problems. Snakes could be using your gutters as a warm place to hide, as too could vermin, mosquitos and other insects. Birds like blocked gutters as well, as they provide good nesting material, and one thing all people know about birds is they poop all the time. There could be a whole ecosystem of living and dying creatures in your gutters, as well as bacteria and germs and many other things that could make you very sick unless you have the right protective equipment on. 

And beyond that, think about the danger of rusted nails and exposed electrical wiring. There is a reason why gutter cleaning companies exist. Cleaning your gutters is much more dangerous than you think.

Scroll to top