The gutters and downspouts at the perimeter of your roof play an important role in preventing water from getting into your home, damage to its structure, and so much more. For this reason, gutters need to be kept free of debris so the rainwater or melting snow can flow freely away from the house. It is always a good idea to clean the gutters before the first snowfall of the winter season. Why? There are many good reasons. Do not skip this important step of gutter maintenance.

Benefits of Cleaning Gutters Before Winter

The are several benefits to cleaning your gutters before they get filled with snow or ice. You don’t want to have to climb a ladder after the first snowfall to clear out wet debris. Here are some of the advantages of cleaning your gutters before winter.

Avoid Sagging and Broken Gutters

If the gutters are full of leaves and sediment, wet snow will freeze, as will all that damp debris. This extra weight will put a strain on the gutters. They could sag and eventually snap off of the fasteners holding them in place. If gutters are deformed from sagging or have snapped, you will likely need full gutter replacement when the weather is nicer.

Prevent Ice Dams and Icicles

An ice dam occurs when melting snow can’t make it into the clogged gutters to flow freely. The ice that forms is very heavy and it needs to go somewhere as it starts to melt further. Unfortunately, it often moves up and under the shingles at roof eaves. This can eventually migrate into your home and cause serious leaks, ceiling and wall damage, and mold growth. Alternatively, icicles can form at the edge of the gutters. These are sharp, heavy, and dangerous if they fall near you, your family, your guests, and your pets.

During the winter, it’s also important to make sure your roof is clear from ice and snow. If necessary, contact a professional team for snow and ice removal.

Discourage Unwanted Pests

Ever notice that spiders, small rodents, and squirrels are pretty active just as the temperatures start to drop outside? They are scurrying to find food and a warm place to settle in for the winter. Gutters that are filled with organic material are perfect places for pests to nest. They also serve as potential pathways for these intruders to find entryways into your home. Mice and insects can fit through the tiniest of gaps. Squirrels use wood siding and trim to wear down their constantly growing teeth. They can chew their way inside your eaves. Don’t make it easy for pests to use your gutters by leaving them full of debris.

Identify Weak Spots

Having your gutters professionally cleaned before winter allows for a deeper inspection of the system. Inspecting clean gutters can reveal weak spots and holes. It can also help to identify loose fasteners and compromised seams. Once any defects are discovered, this is the time of year to make repairs to avoid complete gutter replacement later on and possible water damage and rot in your soffit areas.

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