Gutters are really important because – while they are simple and relatively inexpensive – they protect valuable home components, such as the roof, foundation and windows. Caring for and cleaning rain gutters is an easy way to help protect your home from damages.
And it’s really much easier than you might think.
Spotting a gutter leak early can protect an entire house. Here, we’ve listed a few indicators that you can look for (without hiring a roofer) to see if there is a leak in your gutters.
How to Identify a Gutter Leak
There are many signs that point to a leaking gutter, even if you don’t notice 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’s what to look for:
Obvious Flaws – When the gutters pull away from the house, it causes stress on the connectors. Cracks can be caused by poor installation, poor quality materials, damage or general wear and tear. Cracks in the gutter channel or seeing any part of them pulling away from the home may not cause a leak just yet, but will ultimately create problems. Having these defects repaired is affordable than gutter replacement or any of the possible damages a leak can cause.
Pooling – If water is puddling around your home, it’s a sign that a gutter leak is probably present. You should also check underground pipes, water spigots and any water source that is close to your home, just in case.
Pooling water near your home can be really bad for the foundation. It’s also bad for landscaping and can cause windows to leak.
Drips – One of the most obvious signs of a gutter leak is a drip, or several of them.
A drip from your rain gutter indicates 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 tiny leaks can occur if a fastener has gotten loose (see the next item on our list).
Visible Fasteners – Finding nails and screws working their way out of the rain gutters likely means a leak is going to begin soon, if it hasn’t already. The area where the nail or screw fits in becomes a new area where water can get out if the fastener starts to fall out.
Sometimes the answer is as simple as tightening them, but it can also be necessary to cover the hole so no water can escape from around the screw or nail, even after it is back in place. You can buy this type of sealant, or let a gutter repair company put it on.
Water Stains or Rust – Moisture leaves behind evidence, especially if it is consistently or frequently present. Darker water stains will appear because dirt and other materials adhere to the moist surface better than it would a drier one.
Rust is the product of nearly constant moisture, and the more severe sign you’ll see after water stains. Most water stains on gutters can be cleaned and the gutters fixed, but if gutters are rusty, they will definitely need to be repaired or replaced.
Unexplained Home Damage – If there hasn’t recently been a storm, and you haven’t had a limb fall on top of your roof, but you’re beginning to notice paint flaking, cracking in the foundation or walkways, rotting wood on your porch or deck, or moldy window sills, you could have a gutter leak.
These are all signs that water has been leaking from a place it shouldn’t. They also go hand in hand with older building materials, so all factors should be considered when inspecting gutters for leaks.
Other gutter issues…
Not every gutter issue leads to home repairs. If you see these common gutter issues, a leak may not be the issue.
Rain Overflow – This one is typically an easy fix. It’s probably not a gutter leak, but a clog that should be cleaned out. You can do this yourself or hire a Arlington Heights gutter cleaning service – or even a general handyman – to clean out the gutters.
Animal Nests – A small bird, squirrel, chipmunk or other pest can build a nest in your gutters or in your downspout, which will also cause overflow. Once the nest has been there awhile, you will start to see some of the above signs of a leak in a gutter – like rust or puddling – if you don’t get rid of it.
Trees & Plants – A tree can take root in your gutter with little debris present. While it may be small now, a sapling will sprout really strong roots that can damage aluminum gutters before you know it.
Professional Gutter Repair
Any of these visible signs mean there are problems with your rain gutter that need to be addressed right away. By quickly checking your gutters and downspouts, you can tell if there’s a reason for concern.
This is where a professional gutter service in Arlington Heights can be of great help. They can determine if gutter replacement is necessary or if you can get by with repairs to extend the life of your home’s 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 sometimes dangerous, they are eager to take on the chore 1-2 times a year to save a little money.
However, any job beyond simple gutter cleaning should be left to the professionals.
Start by hiring a gutter specialist with excellent customer reviews like AllClean Arlington Heights Gutters. Then let us do an inspection to correctly diagnose the problem. We provide free inspections for potential customers.
If there are gutter repairs to be made, or if we think that it’s time to install new gutters, you can trust us to get the job done. Our gutter repair service can save you a lot of time and trouble in the long run!