When is the last time you have been up to your attic? If you are anything like me, probably never. But perhaps you have been up to the attic, and even supervised workmen when they were putting in installation. Some people are under the impression that a very tightly sealed house = more energy efficiency = less cost on utilities.
And saving electricity is also good for the environment. We all of the best intentions, but let me briefly explain some issues that having a tightly sealed “non-breathing” home could cause, and how it relates to Gutters.
You would assume that if everything is sealed up nice and tight it would be best, right? No one wants to waste money on heating or cooling, and we all know drafty attics can be very expensive for your electricity bill. Would you believe that if things are sealed so tight it could cause another problem? You guessed it, Moisture!!!
Moisture in your attic can lead to a multitude of problems, especially when gone unnoticed:
Modern homes are designed to conserve or “trap” energy. That’s good. But in the process, such homes can also trap moisture and that can cause big problems and costly damage. For example, if the soil around the foundation is soaked from roof drainage water, we can assume that at least some of that moisture will find its way into the basement, crawl space or the concrete floor. Some of this moisture will then be absorbed by the air in the home. If this occurs in the winter time, we can assume that the warmed air in the home will absorb a great deal of moisture (warm air can absorb more moisture than cold air). If this moisture saturated air finds itself into some spaces with cold surfaces – and it will, then some of this moisture will condense against these cold surfaces. This can happen at windows, attic plywood and inside exterior walls, etc.
Condensation at windows may just be bothersome, but in attics and walls it can cause fungal wood-rot and that can be very expensive to repair. A good gutter system helps to control the amount of water and moisture that gets into a structure by leading water away from your home. And that, in combination with various types of vents to ensure “breathing” can help prevent any trapped moisture.
So what is the lesson in all of this? It may not have even been apparent at first to even the most well intentioned home builders, but when it comes to “sealing” up your house tight, this (like anything else) must be done with care and .
Unfortunately, your gutters are also a great place for debris like leaves, twigs, and dirt. If too much debris collects in your gutters, there is nowhere for the water to go and it becomes essential for you to clean your gutters. If you do not clean clogged or dirty gutters you could end up with much bigger issues. Gutters are the 1st line of defense against erosion of soil around your home’s foundation. A gutter system is supposed to carry water running off your roof to down spouts so it does not saturate the soil located around your house.
If that soil is over loaded, then you run the danger of getting the foundation wet. Water can find its way into small cracks in the foundation. As water moves into the crevices or cracks in the foundation, it will find another barrier because the cracks do not go all the way through the foundation. Therefore, the water will be forced backwards out of those crevices and cracks taking small pieces of your foundation with it. Every time water flows over your gutter system and finds its way into the foundation, it erodes away at your foundation. After a period of time, the water will find its way through the cracks in your foundation and water will leak into the basement. Water in the basement of your home can lead to problems with mold, mildew, and other bacteria.
If your gutters are blocked that also means they are heavy, too heavy, in fact. The fasteners that are used to attach your gutters to your house can’t hold up against the additional weight of a gutter system that is full of wet leaves and debris. When your gutters are too full they start to pull away from your home. If they aren’t in position to catch rain water running off the roof, the problems to your foundation and possible sinkholes are even more of an issue. Your house will look very unattractive and not well taken care of.
The truth is that your gutters should be cleaned twice a year: in early spring to clear out any left over ice and debris that has accumulated during the winter, and also in early fall (this is perhaps the most important time of year to clean your gutters because you need to clear out all the falling leaves and things that gather in your gutter system during fall before the melting snows of winter begin to tax your gutters and downspouts.)
At Ballston Lake Gutter Services, with every gutter cleaning, we will also make sure your gutters are attached firmly to your home so there is no separation. Gutters are typically attached to the home with special hangers and we can check if there are any problems and alert you if replacing them is necessary. We can also check to make sure that your gutter system is level so that it is aligned at the proper angles to maximize efficiency.
When I first moved to upstate New York I noticed that not all of the new homes being built had gutters on them. This may have been the first time in my life I even thought about gutters! In other areas of the country gutters are installed on every new home (perhaps like we expect a home to come with a furnace). For whatever reason, it is not the case here in Albany/Saratoga/Clifton Park. So this begs the question – Do I need to invest in gutters? What do they really do for me? Below is the quick, short, and sweet answer to this question.
Gutters will prevent serious costly problems that could occur to your property and home, namely the following:
Without gutters installed, it is possible that water is not led away from your house and subsequently the water seeps underground and leaks into the foundation walls. This often leads to undermining of the actual foundation walls and floors – and also eventually could flood your basement. Water can create foundation cracks or make small (otherwise non-issue cracks) into huge problems.
In review –
Stay tuned for more details on this topic from your friends at Ballston Lake Gutters