How Often Should Floridians Clean Gutters On Their House?
Cleaning your gutters is one of the most important things you can do as a homeowner to protect the integrity of your home’s foundation and structure. Floridians must get their gutters cleaned at certain times of the year to ensure that their house stays whole and solid in the ground.
Before getting into the ins and outs of how often Floridians should clean the gutters on their house, we must first look at why gutters are important in a house. Most people would think gutters are there to catch the rain that would hit them while entering the building, but there is a much more important use for gutters than simple convenience. Catching the runoff is just a side benefit.
The real purpose of gutter installation is to catch the entirety of the water that lands on your roof and divert it away from your house. When it rains, a lot of water lands on the large surface area of your roof, and it needs somewhere to go. If this water all landed on the ground around the permitter of your house, it would interfere with the integrity of your building. The primary purpose of gutters is to channel water away from your house to protect the foundation.
What are Hydrostatic Pressure Cracks, and Why Are They a Concern?
Hydrostatic pressure happens when one part of your foundation is wetter than another section of the foundation. The wet ground pressure pushes against your foundation, causing a wet/dry push and pull.
This causes hydrostatic pressure cracks, leading to your house shifting and moving. This movement can be very dangerous. Gutters are important to keep your foundation equally wet throughout the area, protecting your home.
When To Clean Your Gutters
Location and time of the year are important factors to consider deciding when you should clean out your gutter. But the important thing you are looking for when deciding is what the trees are doing. The primary concern of a clogged gutter is not just leaves and debris; it is pollen.
Pollen is particularly thick in spring and fall. Pollen mixes in the air with fine dust and settles on the covers, screens, and guards on your gutters, clogging up the openings where water needs to flow. Every morning and every evening, there will be moisture in the gutters from the temperature changing, which makes a hard, glue-like paste with the pollen and dust in your gutters.
Every day when the sun comes out, this paste gets baked to form a paper-thin mixture. The problem is that the rain will not wash away this hard substance because it doesn’t dissolve in water. But it does attract debris that bonds to the gutter's surface and prevents the water from going where it needs to go.
This also means that the leaves caught in the gutters make the water fall onto the foundation, promoting those hydrostatic pressure cracks. They’re also a perfect environment for critters like squirrels, snakes, and birds to nest in.
Mold And Damage Concerns
These clogged gutters are also the perfect environment for mold. The small holes let in less air to circulate the air with the sun creating a hot, warm, wet environment which is the perfect environment for mold to grow.
Unchecked mold will grow into the fascia boards, truss beams, and roof underpayments. This damage will call for a massive bill to replace it. You will need a new gutter installation, downspouts, fascia board, and soffits.
What To Look For When Deciding On The Right Time For A Gutter Cleaning
You need to inspect your gutters a minimum of three times a year but should clean them out about six times a year.
- When the trees and plants around your house begin to spring buds, the pollen will soon follow. When the pollen has fallen off the trees, wait a couple of weeks before doing a cleaning.
- At the end of summer, and the begging of all when the trees are starting to change colors. This is when you need to do your second cleaning.
- When the trees around your house have lost their leaves. Get them cleaned for the third time.
How to Clean Your Gutters
Cleaning your gutters isn’t difficult. When the time of year comes to clean your gutters, flush them out with a water hose. You need about one water spout for every 20 to 25 feet of roofing on your house.
Don’t bother with covers, shields, guards, and screens for your gutters when you do a gutter installation. None of these products are worthwhile installing and actually promote hydrostatic pressure on your foundation - the very problem you are trying to avoid!
Guards on the gutter make gutter cleaning a problem because you have to take tools to them to get them off before giving the gutter a good cleaning.
A pro tip to add extra drainage away from your house is to pitch the soil to about ten feet away so that the water drains away from your house.
Use a hose to clear your gutters, flush out the downspouts so they aren’t clogged, and water has a clear path to travel away from your gutter. If you want your gutter cleaning done right, then call in the professionals.