Gutters are really important because – although they are simple and inexpensive – they protect valuable home components, like the roof, foundation and windows. Taking care of and cleaning gutters is an easy way to protect your home from major damages.
And it’s a lot simpler than you probably think.
Finding a leak in your gutters early can protect your entire home. Here, we’ve provided a few signs that you can be on the lookout for (without hiring a roof specialist) to determine if your gutters are leaking.
How to Identify a Leaking Gutter
There are many signs that suggest a leaking gutter, even if you don’t physically 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:
Obvious Flaws – When the gutters pull away from the home, it causes stress on the connectors. Cracks can be caused by poor installation, low quality materials, storm damage or age. Cracks in the gutter or seeing any part of them pulling away from the house might not be causing a leak just yet, but will certainly result in problems. Having these defects fixed is a lot more affordable than gutter replacement or any of the potential damages a leak can cause.
Pooling Water – If water is puddling around your home, it’s a possible sign that a gutter leak is probably present. You should also check underground pipes, water spigots and any other water source that is near your house, just in case.
Pooling water around your house can be really harmful for the foundation. It’s also bad for landscaping and could cause your windows to leak.
Drips – One of the most obvious signs of a gutter leak 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 overflowing, there is a hidden leak somewhere. These small leaks can occur if a fastener has become loose (see the next item below).
Visible Fasteners – Finding nails and screws wiggling their way out of the gutters means a leak will begin soon, if it hasn’t already. The hole where the nail or screw fits 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 might also be necessary 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 – Moisture leaves evidence behind, especially when it is consistently or frequently there. Dark water stains will appear because dirt and other debris adhere to the moist surface better than on a dry one.
Rust is the result of constant moisture, and the more severe sign you’ll see after water stains. Most water stains on gutters can be cleaned away and the gutters can be fixed, but if the gutters are rusty, they 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 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 might have a gutter leak.
These are all indications 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 gutter issues, a leak might not be the problem.
Rain Overflow – This one is a pretty easy fix. It’s probably not a leak, but a clog that needs to be cleaned out. You can do this or hire a Chicago 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 downspout, which will 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 puddling – if you don’t get rid of the nest.
Trees & Plants – A tree can easily take root in your rain gutter with minimal debris present. While it may be little now, a tree sapling will sprout really strong roots that can damage 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 right away. By checking all of your gutters and downspouts, you can see if there’s a reason for concern.
This is where a gutter service in Chicago can be of great help. They can determine whether gutter replacement is necessary or if you can get by with repairs to extend the life of your gutters. Sometimes, gutter cleaning is all that’s needed.
Some homeowners choose to do simple gutter care, such as gutter cleaning, on their own. Although it it can be time consuming and sometimes dangerous, they are willing to complete the chore 1-2 times a year to save a little money.
However, anything beyond simple gutter cleaning should be left to the professionals.
Start by hiring a gutter service with good customer reviews like Chicago Gutters Plus. Then let us do a full inspection to accurately determine the problem. We provide free inspections for potential customers.
If there are any repairs to be made, or if we think 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!