Gutters are so important because – while they are simple and inexpensive – they protect more valuable home assets, like the roof, foundation and windows. Caring for and cleaning rain gutters is an easy way to help prevent your house from major damages.
And it’s really much easier than you might think.
Finding a leak in your gutters early can protect the entire house. In this blog post, we’ve provided a few indicators that you can look for (without hiring a roof specialist) to determine if there is a leak in your gutters.
How to Identify a Gutter Leak
There are a lot of warning signs that point to a gutter leak, even if you don’t physically see water dripping. You can do an inspection from the safety of your ground to decide if the signs of a gutter leak are present.
Here’s what to look for:
Visible Flaws – When gutters begin to pull away from the house, it stresses the connections. Cracks can be the result of faulty installation, low quality materials, storm damage or age. Cracks in the gutter channel or seeing any section of them pulling away from the house may not cause a leak just yet, but these things will definitely result in problems. Getting these defects fixed is a lot more affordable than gutter replacement or any of the potential damages a leak can lead to.
Pooling – If water is pooling around your home, it’s a possible sign that a gutter leak is present. But you should also check pipes, water spigots and any other water source that is close to your home, just to be careful.
Pooling water by your home can be really harmful for the foundation. It’s also bad for landscaping and might cause your windows to leak.
Dripping – One of the most visible signs of a leaking gutter is a drip, or several drips.
A drip coming from your gutter is likely a clog, but if it’s coming from the bottom of the gutter and it isn’t a big overflow, there is a hidden leak. These minor leaks will happen if a fastener has gotten loose (see the next item on our list).
Visible Fasteners – Seeing nails and screws working their way out of the gutters likely means a leak will start soon, if it hasn’t already. The hole where the nail or screw fits in becomes a new area where water can escape if the fastener starts to fall out.
Sometimes the solution is as simple as refastening them, but it can also be necessary to cover the hole so no more water can leak from the edge of the screw or nail, even after it is back in place. You can buy this type of sealant, or let a gutter repair company apply it.
Water Stains or Rust – Water leaves evidence behind, especially when it is consistently or frequently there. Dark water stains will appear because dirt and other organic materials adhere to the moist surface better than it would a dry one.
Rust is the result of constant moisture, and the more severe sign you’ll notice after you see water stains. Most water stains on gutters can be cleaned and the gutters fixed, but if gutters are rusty, they will definitely have to be repaired or be replaced.
Unexplained Home Damage – If there hasn’t recently been a severe storm, and you haven’t had a limb fall on top of your roof, but you’re beginning to see paint flaking, cracking in the foundation around the downspouts or walkways, rotting wood on your porch or deck, or mold on your window sills, you may have a gutter leak.
These are all indications that water has been leaking from somewhere it shouldn’t. They also go hand in hand with older building materials, so all of these factors need to be taken into account when inspecting gutters for leaks.
Other gutter issues…
Not all gutter issues lead to major repairs. If you see these gutter issues, a gutter leak might not be the issue.
Rain Overflow – This one is usually an easy fix. It’s probably not a leak, but a clog that has to be removed. You can do this yourself or hire a Huntsville gutter cleaning service – or even a general handyman – to clean out the gutters.
Animal Nests – A small bird, squirrel, chipmunk or other pest can quickly build a nest in your gutters or in your downspout, which will also cause overflow. Once the nest has been there for a little while, you will start to see some of the above signs of a leak in a gutter – like rust or pooling – if you don’t get rid of the nest.
Trees & Plants – A tree can easily take root in your gutter with small amounts of debris present. While it may be small now, a sapling will sprout strong roots that can destroy aluminum gutters before you even know it.
Professional Gutter Repair
Any of these easy-to-see signs mean there are problems with your gutter that need to be addressed immediately. By quickly checking your gutters and downspouts, you can tell if there’s a reason for concern.
This is where a gutter service in Huntsville can be of great help. They can determine if gutter replacement is required or if you can get by with repairs to extend the life of your gutters. Sometimes, basic gutter cleaning is the only thing that’s needed.
Some homeowners choose to do simple gutter care, such as gutter cleaning, on their own. Although it is time consuming and dangerous, they are ready to complete the project 1-2 times each year to save some money.
However, any job beyond gutter cleaning should be left to the professionals.
Start by finding a gutter service with good customer reviews like Huntsville Gutter Service. Then let us do a full inspection to accurately diagnose the problem. We provide free inspections for potential customers.
If there are gutter repairs to be made, or if we feel that it’s time to install new gutters, you can count on us to get the job done. Our gutter repair service can save you a lot of time and trouble in the long run!