NIW Services Blog

Could Cpt. Kirk have used shields to keep the leaves out of his gutters?

starship enterprise protect gutters
The Starship Enterprise arrived too late to use its forcefield
to protect these gutters. Guess they'll just have to clean
the gutters, unless the Enterprise can laser blast
the gutters clear.
Aboard the bridge of the Starship Enterprise, you might hear Cpt. Kirk giving the order, “Full power to the shields, Mister Scott.” With any luck, the hypothetical spaceship’s shields would repel the proton torpedoes that a Romulan Starship had fired. Well, if they can create a force field to protect a spaceship, how hard would it be to create a force field to keep leaves out of your gutters and downspouts?

Imagine you’re looking out the window in mid-October and you notice that the leaves are starting to fall. You turn to your husband and say, “I think it’s time to deploy the gutter shields.”

“What power do you want?” he asks.

And you tell him, “Full power to the shields. We’ll keep those leafy invaders out of our gutters.”

Of course, force fields are currently a product of imagination. The leaves falling from trees around your home, however, are very real. And, while less explosive than a Romulan proton torpedo, they can cause damage to your mothership – your home.

It’s not the leaves themselves that do the damage, it’s the water. Any time of the year, if your gutters are clogged, water can back up and sneak under your home’s shingles. Diabolically, some might say, the leaves come down to clog gutters just before winter sets in. It’s as though a Klingon High Council plotted to arrange a perfect storm that would leave your roof and roof structure in tatters.

How does this fiendish plot play out? With cruel simplicity. In the Spring, buds appear on trees. Over the summer, those buds turn to bushy bunches of leaves. Then, in the Autumn, the leaves fall from the trees. They fall in such abundance that, though many land on the ground, where you have to rake them, there is enough left over to fill your gutters and clog your downspouts.

Then, with your gutters clogged, Winter brings snow and ice. The snow builds up on your roof, which radiates heat that melts the lower layers of snow and ice. Unable to wash down the gutters and downspouts, because of the leaves, the water backs up the roof. That’s not the direction water is expected to go on a roof.

Roofing is designed to shed water as it flows down. But, when the water rolls up, it can roll right up under the shingles where it invades your home while rotting the plywood under the shingles. It can cause substantial damage.

The solution, since force fields haven’t actually been invented yet, is to clean your gutters. You could send your husband up on a ladder where, hopefully, he won’t fall and break his neck. Or, you could send out a desperate message to the Federation Starship Enterprise to swing by and use its lasers to destroy the leaves. Of course, that’s only an imaginary option (sorry, Trekkies). The other option is to hire some professionals who know how to safely climb ladders and have proper insurance in case the unexpected happens.

Note: beyond Starship force fields, there are products you can use to block the leaves from your gutters. These, however, come with costs of purchase and installation and generally don’t last forever.

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