Tag Archives: gutter hazard

Gutter Critters

When thinking about the usual issues with gutters, most of the time it’s the debris that we can all think of. The hassle of cleaning up gutters (not unless the gutter covers are doing a great job) is one thing that most of the home owners hate the most when it comes to house maintenance. Bunch of leaves, seeds, twigs, small stones and lots of muck – who wouldn’t hate the cleaning part? However, there’s another culprit of the gutters and they can’t be simply removed by just picking them up and throwing it to the bin or the garbage bag – insects.

These critters may look harmless, but wait when they increase in numbers and give way to worse problems. Here are some of them, and the dangers they bring about.

Mosquitoes. When a gutter gets clogged up, a pool of water is formed. When a pool of water is formed, the mosquitoes will come and enjoy the moment. The blood suckers – the female mosquitoes – will waste no time in laying their eggs in the pool of water. The eggs hatch within a day or two, then turn into “wigglers”, turn into pupae after 7-10 days, then hatch as mosquitoes. What’s next? More mosquitoes lurking around your house, and even get inside. Malaria is one of the diseases that they bring, and is highly contagious. One bite from a carrier and that’s it.

Hornets, Wasps and Bees. Just because you haven’t seen one in a few days doesn’t mean you can relax now. These insects will build their hive on your gutters without you knowing, and when the cleanup time comes, you’re in for a surprise. Chances are you might find a hornet’s nest in one corner and when you accidentally disturb them, you’re in for a wild chase. For you, they’re the “gutter invaders,” but they’ll think that you’re invading their territory. How will they let you know that they’re disturbed? A nasty and painful sting. Not good, for real. A single sting of a wasp is extremely painful, and being stung while on a ladder is extremely dangerous.

Earthworms. Impossible? No. Earthworms amazingly find their way into reaching your lovely gutter system. There are instances where paid gutter cleaners would show to home owners a bucket of soil with big, beautiful worms amongst the debris. How did they end up there? Some speculations include: leaves and twigs falling to the roof might have eggs, a bird eating a worm passed by and the latter dropped the eggs, or most probably an earthworm crawled its way up through the downspout.

Roaches, Ants and Termites. Roaches are a big nuisance. Ants and Termites slowly eats up your fascia board, gutters, and finds their way to the ceiling and other house parts.

Others. Being exposed to moisture makes the gutter a breeding ground of fungus, mildew, moss and mold. Slowly growing these life forms crawl their way to the fascia board, the gutter and gradually the house walls causing paint damage.

In keeping these critters out, regular cleaning is a must. When seeing a hive or a nest on the gutter, seek help from a professional cleaner to see what can be done to have it removed. With insects, it’s also recommended to use an insect spray to have them killed immediately. Seek help for pest control services too for addtiontial help.

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Ice Dam Relief for your Roof

A slight formation of ice may be nice to look at, since the forces of nature made some sculptures with the help of freezing temperatures, water and ice. However, people don’t seem to know that much when it comes to the actual effects it’ll have on a house. How does it form up and what can we do to keep things away from a “frozen” situation?

A poor victim of ice dams is the gutter system. A good gutter system will also involve a good gutter cover but when the snow comes in – it’s another story. What causes an ice dam? Snow, heat, and the cold temperatures. Two main factors also play a big part. The outdoor temperature and indoor temperature – most probably the one from the attic. When the roof catches snow, the heat from the attic melts it – so presumably it’ll just flow down to the gutter and to the downspout. However, that isn’t always the case. So it flows down, then when it comes close to the gutter, the cold temperature almost freezes it immediately, building up a small dam. Unless it’s being dealt with right away, the “dam” will build up and eventually even cover up your gutter system. Definitely not a good sight to see, and not a small problem that you can deal with on another day.

Ice dams are one of the biggest spoilers of the gutter system. Some people would say that gutters cause the dams, but hey – they’re only the unwilling victims. Aside from damaging your gutters, unmelted snow will seep into the house and damage the interiors. It’ll also ruin the heat insulation of the house which will result to expensive repairs. On the other hand, that’ll be prevented – the home owner just needs to be well equipped with some tools and some adjustments to the roof and ceiling.

Having an indoor furnace isn’t enough, as too much heat on the attic will just let the melted snow flow down and get frozen at the part of the roof which isn’t heated. Proper insulation and ventilation sorts the problem out. Having exhaust vents will let warm air go through them and gets cool air in. The vents just need to be regularly checked for debris. Proper attic ventilation will smooth out the drastic changes in temperature and prevent the water to be frozen at the gutters. The vents located at the soffits or eaves are a big help already, so make sure it’s well-maintained.

Some also use a ridge vent, which is a continuous vent that runs up to the roof’s peak. Others use a turbine that’s heat-propelled and spins as air passes through. To have it prevented in the first place, make it a point to regularly rake the roof and get the snow off, and heat tapes can also be installed.

Molds and Spore Invasion: Fight them off!

Maintenance of your gutter system is simple, as long as there’s regular cleaning and checks for anything wrong. Flushing debris and scooping up debris may look like it’s done, but there’s another spoiler that gradually becomes hazardous if left undealt. Molds and spores might look like harmless stains in the outside of your home, but it can be a major culprit in terms of safety.

Molds are fungi that can be found both inside and outside the house. They grow anywhere – in warm, damp and humid conditions. In the gutter system, for example, the debris and leaves that it collects gradually decay and disintegrate. Molds help to break them down and recycle these to the environment. The multiply through spores, which are spread by insects, air and water. They’re like seeds – they grow in the proper conditions. An example of a perfect home for molds is your bathroom, kitchen sink, water pipes, and gutters.

How would you know if there are molds in your house? Simple. A simple discoloration of your walls, sometimes a greenish tint, is an example of the existence of molds. Though it’ll make your house look like it’s naturally “aged” by nature, these molds must be taken seriously not only in your gutter system but in your house as well. Why? Mold exposure can be hazardous with some people, allergic reactions may occur if they are sensitive to molds and spores. It can cause congestion in breathing, asthma, cough, skin irritation and headache, just to name a few.

In your gutter system, there’s a lot of causes for mold growth. Trees and plants too close to the house blocks sunlight, which is a perfect breeding place for them to grow. Not cleaning clogged gutters right away will be a major factor, as moisture stays on the gutter along with the leaves and other debris – instant mold haven from there.

How can this be prevented? Simple. Regular gutter cleaning should be done, and regular checks for any clogs, leaks or any damaged parts. As molds can also grow on pipes, downspouts need to be checked as well. When cleaning gutters, always have a scrub brush to scrape off any mold that’s starting to grow. A liquid bleach is extremely helpful in mold removal too. Just make sure to wear a face mask to prevent inhalation of molds and spores. If the gutter is painted, a sealant should be applied too to prevent any accumulation of mold. A good gutter cover can also help in preventing these, but check them as well. Consider having your house painted too with mildew-resistant paint.

Having these done will keep not only your gutter system safe, but also the other parts of your house.

What’s a Heat Tape Anyway?

When the winter comes, our gutters suffer greatly from it. The weight of snow is a threat to the performance of gutter systems, especially when ice dams form. It can somehow be minimized by raking the snow off your roof, but you can’t simply do it everytime. This is when a heat tape comes into play. But how does it exactly work?

Usually, a heat tape is installed in water pipes to prevent them from freezing in extremely low temperatures, which happens in winter. It’s not literally a tape though, but instead an electrical wire enclosed in a tape-like cord. It is installed in roof or along the gutters, ran in loops. It can be 30 ft up to even 150 ft long, depending on the need (it even goes up to a thousand feet). Some varieties are engineered to automatically heat up when the temperature reaches a certain point, or be activated on a specific part of the day when the weather gets snowy or cold.

Having a heat tape is extremely useful for your gutter system. An ice dam will really give your gutter a hard time, for ice dams continue to accumulate. If nothing is done with it, the gutter will be damaged due to the weight of the ice, get cracked, and will even have icicles below, which is hazardous.

If you’ll decide to buy one, make sure to have the measurement of your roof’s overhanging edge. That will give you a hint on how long your heat tape must be. For example, if your roof’s overhang is 12 inches, you will need 2 feet for every 1 foot of the roof edge. Do the math. Add also the gutter and the downspout length to come up with an approximate length of what you’ll get. A standard heat tape is 120 and 150 volts, but there’s also some that reach 500-600 volts.

When installing it, make use of the clips included. There will be clips for the roof, gutter and downspouts. Follow the instructions carefully from the manufacturer, it’ll be included in the purchase. Check the wattage to, if it can handle the power load. There’s also a control box included in the kit, so have the tape installed there and place it near the gutter, preferably in a corner.

Heat Tapes is a essential part of your gutter system as it keeps your roof safe, and icicle-free. Better get one now!

Gutter Culprit: Ice Dam (video)

When winter’s around the corner, one of the main problems we will have are ice dams on our gutters. Not only because it’s hard to remove, but the added weight will gradually hurt our gutters and damage our home. Find out what causes it and ways to prevent it from happening.