NIW Services Blog

How could something so beautiful be such a pane – those leaves will clog your gutters

gutters clogged by falling leaves
The colors of autumn leaves are spectacular but they'll still clog your gutters if you don't do something about them.

Some folks will pile in the car and drive up to Door County, and other heavily wooded areas, to see the splendor of the varied shades of autumn leaves this time of year. Reds, yellows, oranges, purples, browns, greens, magentas: these are some of the colors that replace the almost universal green of summer leaves. They’re beautiful but the changing colors signify the changing of seasons and the falling of those leaves.

As the leaves come down they must land somewhere. They may land on the ground. This causes a rash of rakes to fly into the hands of homeowners who are coerced to join an army of yard-raking laborers. As inconvenient as that is, it’s not as bad as the leaves that get caught by gutters before the leaves can hit the ground.

You might tell yourself, ‘Well, if they don’t hit the ground, I don’t have to rake them.’ If that was the entire story, it would be a wonderful tale of increased leisure. But that’s not what it is. It’s not a good thing that your gutters catch a bunch of leaves before they hit the ground.

Autumn leaves that fill up gutters can cause substantial damage to your home. The gutters play a vital role in protecting your home. They channel the water that comes off your roof through downspouts and away from your foundation. Without gutters and downspouts, water comes straight off the roof and can find its way into your basement.

When your gutters are full of leaves, however, they conspire with elements of the next season – winter. In the wintertime, the water comes down as snow. As the snow piles up on your roof, the heat coming through your roof from your home can melt some of the snow or ice. Not a problem – your gutters will carry the water away. But your gutters are full of leaves.

With leaves clogging your gutters, the water builds up on your roof. ‘Building up’ is a contrary condition for the way your shingles were designed. Your roof shingles are designed to shed water as it comes down from clouds in the sky. But, water building up from a clogged gutter can work its way under the shingles. Instead of protecting the house from the water, water building up from clogged gutters gets in.

As the water comes in, it can rot the plywood sheets under the shingles. Then, it can move down into the insulation. When the insulation gets wet it loses most of its effectiveness. Now, more heat is coming up through the roof, more snow, or ice, is melting, and more water is coming in. Your gutters have started a vicious cycle. And all because those beautiful leaves clogged your gutters.

The solution is simple – clean the leaves out of your gutter. But, better than climbing a ladder yourself, or sending someone you love up that ladder, you might want to call in professionals to clean your gutters.

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