Is there anything prettier than when the leaves change colors from green to the reds, oranges, and yellow of the fall season? People drive hundreds of miles and pay money hand over fist to go leaf-peeping during peak foliage days, just so that they can take in the glory and beauty of nature in autumn, appreciating the wild show of colors that are sure to tug at the heart of any nature lover.
“What beautiful leaves! Now stay on the trees! Do NOT fall!!!”
That is, until the damned things fall off the trees …
When the leaves fall, there are no words that can adequately express the annoyance of having to clean up those things, at least no words that can be safely used in polite company. To make it worse, those fallen leaves get everywhere. They present a hazard on the road when wet, they get in the house when the front door is open, and they clog up your gutters, which then causes a whole other set of problems, most of them related to rain water backing up in ways it shouldn’t. Then along comes winter, and those clogged gutters have you dealing with ice dams, and things really go downhill from there.
So how do you keep your gutters from clogging up without taking a chainsaw to those trees on your property? Read on, for the sake of your sanity, not to mention the lives of your trees.
While chopping down your trees is a bit extreme and actually discouraged, try instead to least prune back the branches somewhat, particularly the ones that are growing just a bit too close to your house, especially over the roof. The beauty of pruning is that this also helps prevent branches from collapsing in the winter due to the extra weight of ice and snow, an incident which can cause property damage, not to mention taking out a power line or two. And the last thing you want in the dead of winter is to lose power.
No one likes cleaning gutters, but it’s yet another of those obligations that as a homeowner, you need to devote time to, or else pay a horrible price down the road. In fact, you should clean the gutters at least twice a year. For best results, try doing it once at the start of spring to take care of the aftermath of winter, then once at the end of autumn, to handle the leaf debris.
There is one way to mitigate the annoyance of cleaning out clogged gutters, and that’s by using gutter guards. A gutter guard is a cover that goes over your gutter, which in turn keeps out most debris and cuts down on maintenance. With a clear gutter, you don’t have to deal with water backing up on your roof, pooling at the house’s foundation, or creating ice dams in winter. There’s a table in the article “Gutters and Gutter Guards: How Much Can You Save?” that shows you how expensive it can be to neglect your gutters.
Used properly, a gutter guard can reduce maintenance chores for you. Instead of climbing a ladder and unclogging the gutter of all that debris, you can usually get away with just sweeping the guards clear of debris with a brush extension. That saves time and work, and actually may induce you to maintain them more regularly, which in turn means less accumulated junk to deal with.
Home Improvement Made Easy
Just a simple little action like installing gutter guards and keeping your gutters maintained can improve the overall shape of your home. With this aspect of your home under control, you can branch out and make things even better by tackling a project like creating your own backyard retreat, as shown in “How Do You Create A Backyard Oasis?”.
Photo Credit: JapanDave
Kimberley Laws is a regular contributor to HowDoYou.com and the author of two blogs, The Embiggens Project and Searching for Barry Weiss. A "Jill of all trades," she is a High School English Teacher and Certified Career Counselor with a background in makeup artistry, retail banking, and graphic design. She is also a scrapbooking, PEZ-collecting, car enthusiast who loves travelling and New York City.
Sep 25, 2013 1
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