With the falling of the autumn leaves comes visions of football games, warm days, cold nights, hot cider, and clogged gutters.
Yes, clogged gutters. Those falling autumn leaves are falling all over the place, and they’re not particular as to where they land, and that includes your house’s rain gutters, creating an instant annoyance as well as laying down the groundwork (leaf work?) for some really bad winter problems.
The Costliness Of Clogged Gutters
Unless you’re ready to tackle the challenge of unclogging your gutters as a do-it-yourself project, you’ll probably need to hire a contractor to take on the job. Since common wisdom says that you should clean your gutters at least twice a year (depending somewhat on the amount of trees in the area), you’re looking at about $400 a year, give or take.
Of course, this begs the question: why do you need to have your gutters cleaned in the first place?
The Consequences Of Clogged Gutters
The problem with clogged gutters is that they prevent rainwater from flowing the way it’s supposed to. After all, the whole purpose of gutters is to keep water away from vulnerable parts of your house. When the gutters are clogged, rain water can overflow and run down the side of a house, causing damage to the siding.
Alternately, it overflows and runs over the back edge of the gutter, resulting in wood eaves rotting due to seepage.
In the winter time, runoff water freezes into what’s known as ice dams, which can cause damage to the entire gutter system, necessitating its replacement.
Gutter Guards As A Solution
Normal gutter filters and screens do keep out the debris, but they still require regular cleaning, since the debris is now settling on top of them. Granted, it’s easier to sweep off the screens and filters than having to actually dig around in the gutters, but even in that case you’re still obliged to do maintenance.
There’s the one-piece gutter protection system, which incorporates a built-in cover with the gutter itself. The biggest problem with this is the need to replace the current gutter system with this new configuration, a costly proposition to be sure.
Among the different varieties of gutter guards, Gutter Helmets by Harry Helmet appear to make the most sense. The Gutter Helmet system functions on the principle of a reverse curve system. The guard is a curved piece of metal that fits atop the existing gutter system. Runoff rain water adheres to the surface of the metal, flowing along the cover’s underside, through a slotted opening, and finally into the gutter itself. Debris such as leaves and needles just slide off the cover and are deflected from the gutters.
Worth The Investment
Like any other home improvement, the Gutter Helmet requires an investment of money. However, protecting a home from water damage (and the resulting repair costs) and eliminating the need for a professional gutter cleaning are two very real instances of gutter guard savings that can eventually make the gutter cover system pay for itself.