Rain Gutters are so important because – although they are simple and relatively inexpensive – they protect more valuable home components, such as the roof, foundation and windows. Taking care of and cleaning gutters is an easy way to help protect your house from damages.
And it’s much simpler than you might think.
Identifying a gutter leak early can protect the entire house. In this blog post, we’ve listed a few indicators that you can look for (without calling a roof specialist) to determine if your gutters may be leaking.
How to Identify a Gutter Leak
There are many signs that suggest a leaking gutter, even if you don’t notice water dripping. You can do an inspection from the safety of your ground to decide if the signs of a gutter leak are there.
Here’s what to keep an eye out for:
Visible Flaws – When gutters start to pull away from the house, it stresses the connections. Cracks can be caused by poor installation, poor quality materials, storm damage or general wear and tear. Cracks in the gutter or seeing any section of them pulling away from the house may not cause a leak yet, but these things will ultimately lead to problems. Having these defects repaired is a lot more affordable than replacing gutters or any of the potential damages a leak can cause.
Pooling – If rain is pooling around your home, it’s a possible sign that a gutter leak is probably present. But you should also check underground pipes, water spigots and any water source that is near your house, just in case.
Pooling water around your home can be especially damaging for the foundation. It’s also bad for landscaping and could cause windows to leak.
Drips – One of the more noticeable signs of gutter leaks is a drip, or several drips.
A drip coming from your rain gutter is likely a clog, but if it’s coming from the bottom and it isn’t a big overflow, there is an unseen leak somewhere. These minor leaks will occur if a fastener has become loose (see the next item below).
Visible Fasteners – Seeing nails and screws working their way out of the rain gutters likely means a leak will start soon, if it hasn’t already. The area where the nail or screw fits becomes a new area where water can get out if the fastener works its way out.
Sometimes the solution is as easy as tightening them, but it might also be important to seal the hole so no more water can leak from the edge of the screw or nail, even after it is tightened again. You can purchase this sealant, or let a gutter repair company apply it.
Water Stains or Rust – Moisture leaves behind evidence, especially if it is constantly or frequently present. Dark water stains appear because dirt and other organic materials stick to the wet surface better than it would a dry one.
Rust is the result of nearly constant moisture, and the more severe sign you’ll see after you see water stains. Most water stains can be cleaned and the gutters fixed, 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 severe 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 or walkways, rotting wood on your porch or deck, or moldy window sills, you may have a gutter leak.
These are all signs that water has been leaking from somewhere it shouldn’t be. They also are related to aging building materials, so all of these factors need to be factored in when inspecting gutters for leaks.
Other gutter issues…
Not every gutter issue leads to major repairs. If you see these common gutter issues, a leak may not be the problem.
Rain Overflow – This issue is usually an easy fix. It’s probably not a leak, but a clog that needs to be removed. You can do this yourself or hire a Champaign gutter cleaning service – even a general handyman – to clean them out.
Animal Nests – A bird, squirrel, chipmunk or other pest can build a nest in your rain gutters or downspout, which will also cause overflow. Once the nest has been there for a little while, you will start seeing some of the above signs of a leak in a gutter – like rust or pooling – if you don’t get rid of it.
Trees & Plants – A tree can easily take root in your rain gutter with minimal debris present. While it may be small now, a sapling will sprout really strong roots that can destroy aluminum gutters before you even know it.
Professional Gutter Repair
Any of these visible signs mean there are problems with your gutter that have to be addressed immediately. By checking your gutters and downspouts, you can see if there’s a reason for concern.
This is when a gutter service in Champaign can be helpful. They can determine whether gutter replacement is required or if you can get by with repairs to extend the life of your gutters. Sometimes, gutter cleaning is the only thing that’s needed.
Homeowners can decide to do simple gutter care, like gutter cleaning, on their own. Although it it can be time consuming and sometimes dangerous, they are eager to take on the chore 1-2 times a year to save some money.
However, any job beyond basic gutter cleaning is best left to the professionals.
Start by finding a gutter specialist with good customer reviews like Champaign Gutters. Then let us do an inspection to accurately determine the problem. We offer free inspections for potential customers.
If there are any gutter repairs to be made, or if we believe that it’s time for gutter replacement, you can count on us to get the job done right. Our gutter repair service will save you a lot of time and trouble in the long run!