Gutters are very important because – although they are simple and inexpensive – they protect valuable home assets, like the roof, foundation and windows. Taking care of and cleaning gutters is an easy way to protect your house from damages.
And it’s much simpler than you probably think.
Identifying a gutter leak early can protect your entire home. In this blog post, we’ve listed a few indicators that you can look for (without calling a roof specialist) to determine if you have a gutter leaking.
How to Identify Leaking Gutters
There are several signs that indicate a gutter leak, even if you don’t see water dripping. You can do a visual inspection from the safety of your ground to determine if the signs of a leaking gutter are present.
Here are some things to look for:
Visible Flaws – When the gutters pull away from the house, it stresses the connectors. Cracks can be caused by faulty installation, low quality materials, storm damage or general wear and tear. Cracks in the gutter channel or seeing any section of them pulling away from the roofing might not cause a leak yet, but these things will definitely create issues. Getting these defects repaired is affordable than gutter replacement or any of the damages a leak can cause.
Pooling Water – If rain is puddling around your house, it’s a sign that a gutter leak is present. You should also check pipes, water spigots and any water source that is close to your house, just to be careful.
Pooling water around your home can be bad for the foundation. It’s also bad for landscaping and might cause your windows to leak.
Dripping – One of the most obvious signs of a leaking gutter is a drip, or several of them.
A drip coming from your rain gutter could indicate a clog, but if it’s coming from the bottom of the gutter and it isn’t overflowing, there is a hidden leak somewhere. These small leaks can happen if a fastener has become loose (see the next item below).
Visible Fasteners – Seeing nails and screws wiggling 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 becomes a new area where water can escape if the fastener starts to fall out.
Sometimes the solution is as easy as refastening them, but it might also be important to seal the hole so no more water can escape from the edge of the screw or nail, even after it is tightened again. You can buy this sealant, or let a gutter repair company put it on.
Water Stains or Rust – Water leaves behind evidence, especially when it is constantly or frequently there. Dark water stains appear because dirt and other organic materials stick to the moist surface better than it would a drier one.
Rust is the product of constant moisture, and the more extreme sign you’ll see after you see water stains. Most water stains on gutters can be cleaned away and the gutters can be repaired, but if the gutters are rusty, they will definitely need to be repaired or be replaced.
Unexplained Home Damage – If there hasn’t recently been a storm, and you haven’t had a tree limb fall on your roof, but you’re starting to see paint flaking, cracking in the foundation around the downspouts or walkways, rotting wood on your porch or deck, or moldy window sills, you could have a gutter leak.
These are all indications that water has been leaking from a place it shouldn’t. They also go hand in hand with older building materials, so all of these factors need to be factored in when inspecting gutters for leaks.
Other gutter issues…
Not all gutter issues lead to major repairs. If you see these common gutter issues, a leak might not be the issue.
Rain Overflow – This issue is a pretty simple fix. It’s probably not a leak, but a clog that needs to be removed. You can do this or hire a Erie gutter cleaning service – or even a general handyman – to clean out the gutters.
Animal Nests – A small bird, squirrel, chipmunk can quickly build a nest in your rain gutters or downspout, which can cause overflow. Once the nest has been there for a little while, you will start seeing some of the above signs of leaks – like rust or puddling – if you don’t get rid of it.
Trees & Plants – A tree can take root in your rain gutter with small amounts of debris present. While it may be small now, a sapling will sprout strong roots that can damage aluminum gutters before you even know it.
Professional Gutter Repair
Any of these obvious signs indicate there are issues with your gutter that have to be addressed right away. By checking your gutters and downspouts, you can see if there’s a reason for concern.
This is when a gutter service in Erie can be of great help. They can distinguish if gutter replacement is necessary or if you can get by with repairs to extend the life of your home’s gutters. Sometimes, gutter cleaning is the only thing that’s needed.
Homeowners can choose to do simple gutter care and maintenance, such as gutter cleaning, themselves. Although it it can be time consuming and somewhat dangerous, they are willing to complete the chore a couple of times each year to save some money.
However, any job beyond gutter cleaning should be left to professionals.
Start by hiring a gutter service with good customer reviews like Elite Erie Gutters. Then let us do a full inspection to accurately determine the issue. We offer free inspections for new customers.
If there are repairs to be made, or if we believe that it’s time to install new gutters, you can count on us to get the job done. Our gutter repair service will save you a lot of time and trouble in the long run!