How to Keep Critters Out of your Gutters
What do swamps and gutter systems have in common? Both can be ideal hangouts for mosquitos. Notice the use of the words can be in that sentence. They’re there because while all swamps are gathering places for mosquitos and an assortment of humidity-loving creepy crawlies, well-maintained clean dry gutters are not. But ones where leaves, pine needles, bird droppings, and other sorts of debris are left undisturbed are. Add one more ingredient — rainwater that is unable to drain due to clogged downspouts and voilà! You have humidity levels equal to those of the dankest of swamps, providing an ideal atmosphere for all types of common gutter pests to live and thrive.
Take a Peak into Your Gutter if You Dare
While you won’t spot any crocodiles in the stagnant water gathering in your gutter, get ready to spot a wreathing community of unwelcome house guests going about their business:
- Mosquitos breeding
- Worms feasting on the decaying debris
- Bees, hornets, and wasps building nests high above predators and exterminators
- Millipedes munching on decaying leaves
- Centipedes feeding on the insect community
As if creepie crawlies and stinging insects are not enough to spur you to clear your roof gutters, you may even spot some furry and feathered pests: birds and rodents who find ideal building materials for nests in which to raise a family and a smorgasbord of insects and worms to feed on. Not only do these nests add to the clogging factor, but their weight can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, sending already compromised gutters plummeting to the ground. And mice and rats who grow cold when winter comes may use their sharp teeth to chew through the wood in a quest to find warmer quarters in your attic. And let’s not forget scaly reptilian invaders. In parts of the country where snakes thrive, they can easily slither up the side of our house to join the party, feasting on all of the above.
But there’s even more to worry about!. These same conditions are appealing to termites, carpenter ants, and wood lice who will pass up the buffet in the gutter and go straight to the main course — the wood in your roof, especially if it’s moist which is just the way they like it. And it will be unless the gutter system is free and clear ….and dry.
The Easy Way to a Clear Free Dry Roof Gutter
The reason gutters pile up with fodder for these creatures is because they are not cleared the 3 to 4 times a year necessary to keep them free of airborne litter. While many homeowners think the dreaded gutter cleaning is a once-and-done autumn chore, they are missing the point that spring and summer are the seasons when insects and the like put down roots.
However, there are homes where nary an unwanted creature sets foot, These belong to homeowners who have traded their open-top or half-round gutters for covered ones like those found in a closed-top gutter like those found in a K-Guard Gutter System. In the case of the K-Guard, not only does it keep the rain out by virtue of its covering, but leaves, twigs, and pine needles don’t stand a chance either since K-Guard Gutter covers have a curved top that forces debris to slide right over it and down to the ground.
And for those wondering why they’re called a gutter system, again using a K-Guard Gutter System as an example, it’s because it’s composed of three parts:
- The Curved Hood is designed to permit water to flow through to the gutter but deny passage to leaves and other types of debris that would otherwise clog it.
- The wide 5-inch gutters permit the passage of more water from the roof to the downspouts whether they are the result of rapid snowmelt or the products of torrential rain. In addition, it meets each downspout at a 45-degree angle, eliminating choke spots and allowing a smoother flow of water to a spot sufficiently away from the foundation to avoid pooling at the foundation
- Wider downspouts than others (4×3 inches vs 2×3 inches) that can handle more than 22 inches of rain per minute.
It’s features like these that attract homeowners — but not creepy crawly creatures.