On this morning’s episode of the Today Show, Financial Editor Jean Chatzky named having a “gutter checkup” as one of the best ways for homeowners to spend their money this spring.
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“After this winter, you really have to check out your gutters,” Chatzky explained. “A lot of people suffered through ice dams, and the problem with not paying attention to your gutters is it can really damage the foundation and the outside of your home, which can end up costing thousands of dollars.”
Gutters are one of the most valuable and affordable methods for homeowners to protect their homes from the elements. By channeling water off the roof and directing it to a location away from the home, properly working gutters help protect the home’s shingles, wood under the eaves, siding, flooring and landscaping from a whole host of problems and expensive repairs, such as:
- Stained walls, siding, floors, etc.
- Rotting doors and wood elements
- Cracking walls and foundations
- Warping or bowing floors
However, if gutters are clogged and not working properly, homeowners may find themselves facing the same above problems that gutters are designed to prevent, as well as a whole host of new ones.
- Infestation of mosquitoes and other pests
- Damage caused from gutters ripping down after becoming too clogged and heavy.
- Frozen gutters (i.e., “ice dams”)
- Added mold and mildew from the backed up, decomposed leaves and other organic materials
Proper maintenance is less expensive in the long run than catastrophic failure. “It’s an investment and it’s a must do,” Chatzky added.
Why Hire a Professional?
Most gutter cleaning requires working from either the roof or a ladder in order to see how dirty the gutter really is and how clean it’s getting. Gutter cleaning also requires carrying and using tools while on the ladder or roof, which adds to the risk of fall injuries.
Additionally, professionals can also check a homeowners’ gutter system to look for, and correct, problems. They know how to ensure that downspouts are not clogged to keep the gutter system flowing properly.
The Smartest Solution
Homeowners need to look at their gutter systems as an investment in their home’s value and their family’s well-being. Cleaned gutters not only help prevent problems with the home, they help promote a healthier home environment. And along those same lines, hiring a professional rather than doing it themselves is an investment in their family’s wellbeing. One slip from a ladder or roof could result in expensive medical bills, weeks off of work – or much worse.
Most importantly, homeowners should not wait until after a problem arises to have their gutters cleaned. It’s better to get on a maintenance program with a reputable, professional cleaning contractor and determine how many cleanings that particular homeowner really needs. Regularly scheduled maintenance gutter cleanings can save significant money in the long run.