Quick, what’s in your gutters when they’re filled to the brim? If you guessed” leaves,” you’d technically be right, but that’s not the only thing likely to turn your gutters into a home. Fallen leaves and decaying organic matter are ideal for all types of wildlife to flourish, making it even more important to stay on top of gutter maintenance. Here is just a sampling of the things you might find in your gutters if it’s been a while since their last cleaning.
Termites and Mosquitoes in Gutters
Insects are few people’s idea of a good houseguest, but there are some you really want to avoid. Clogged gutters collect moisture, and even very shallow pooling water presents an opportunity for mosquitoes to breed and thrive. These biting buggers bring more than uncomfortable, itchy welts, though. Mosquitoes can and often do carry diseases that can be communicable to humans. Termites, on the other hand, do a different kind of damage. Their bites won’t hit your skin, but they can take a chunk out of your bank account. Chewing their way through eaves, joists and other vital wooden structural elements, termites can cause serious destruction to your home in record time.
Mice and Rodents in Gutters
Before they set up camp in your pantry or behind the kitchen cabinets, mice and other rodents must first find a way into your home. The point of entry can be unsealed areas along the foundation of your home, but it can also be your attic space via the gutter system. It’s also important to remember that nothing happens in a vacuum in nature; if you have a thriving rodent population in the gutters, snakes and other predators will soon follow to enjoy the bounty. Cleaning out your gutters is a quick way to minimize the risk of winter rodent infestation indoors and prevent high predator populations on your property during spring and summer.
Birds in Gutters
The same fallen sticks, twigs and leaves that make ideal nest-building materials for mice and rodents also attract birds, sometimes in droves. A well-built bird nest is stronger than you think and can do an incredibly effective job of clogging your gutters completely. This is especially true if they’re blasted through the system by a pressure washer, as they can easily become lodged in the joints of downspouts along the way. The added weight of birds, their nests, their eggs and all that organic debris in the water harbors can literally detach your gutters from the fascia, leaving you with an expensive and frustrating mess on your hands.
Chipmunks and Squirrels in Gutters
They may be cute, but squirrels and chipmunks can be a nightmare if they set up housekeeping in your gutters. Chipmunks, in particular, are fond of building nests in downspouts, leading to clogs and overflow situations. Even worse, squirrels and chipmunks can become lodged in those same downspouts. The unfortunate creature often dies in place when this happens, leaving a foul odor and dramatically increased insect activity to show for their pains.
Random Creepy Crawlies in Gutters
Mosquitoes and termites are no fun, and they’re not the only creepy crawlies you’re likely to find in an overflowing gutter. Scores of different insects, worms and larvae become part of the tiny ecosystem in your gutters and downspouts, sometimes making their way inside the house. This is especially true if small animals and rodents are routinely dying in your downspouts.
The best way to keep undesirable property mates from claiming squatter’s rights in and around your home is to invest in twice-yearly gutter cleaning. Once before the leaves begin to fall in early autumn, and once after the trees have shed their leaves in early winter. This leaves minimal organic debris to invite mammals to keep warm in your downspouts and gutters.
Avoiding unwanted guests isn’t the only reason to stay on top of gutter maintenance, either. When they’re clogged with leaves, debris, wildlife and everything else under the sun, they’re not capable of functioning as intended. Gutters are meant to divert water away from sensitive areas along the eaves of your roof and the footing of your foundation. Pest activity is no one’s idea of a good time, but it pales in comparison to the stress of roof or foundation damage.
Ready to evict the critters and protect your home’s structural integrity? Carolina Power Wash can help. Instead of relying upon the brute force of high-powered pressure washers, they take the time to clean gutters safely and effectively the first time. Debris is removed and bagged by hand, then gutters and downspouts are carefully inspected for any signs of damage or clogs. Downspouts are cleaned gently and effectively, not clogged more forcefully with a pressure washer.