There’s a title you didn’t expect to read, right? There are, of course, many articles written about how to prepare your gutters for the winter and protect them from the overflow that occurs during the heavy rains of autumn and spring. What you don’t often hear about are the summer months and the concerns they can bring to the health of your gutter system. And there are indeed some worth noting. Before you pack up for your extended household summer vacation take note of the following so that you leave the eaves of your home well protected from the summer season elements.
4 Things You Need to be Aware of to Protect Your Gutters During the Season of Summer
1. Some Gutters Need Extra Protection from the Sun
While the hot sun of summer can harm the appearance of aluminum gutters, causing discoloration and peeling of the coating, ultraviolet rays can have a more direct and harmful impact on plastic or vinyl gutters. Plastic/vinyl gutters are susceptible to damage caused by UV rays from the sun, making them brittle and more prone to breaking when harsh winds, debris, or ladders come across their path. As a solution, you can paint/re-paint your gutters with a UV-safe home exterior paint. You can also get creative and dig into your garage to pull out the Armor All and apply a thin coat to protect your gutters from ultraviolet rays. If heat is a major concern in your region then you may look into ditching plastic/vinyl gutters altogether and opt for a strong aluminum or copper. At the very least, visit your local home and garden store to secure gutter-guards that come with a UV protectant coating.
2. Debris Can Build-Up During the Dry Season
Months of heavier rain put your gutters to work. You tend to be more conscious of the upkeep required for your gutter system during this time, removing debris on a regular basis and allowing the rainfall to flow through, removing any excess down through the downspouts. However, when dry season hits gutter upkeep becomes less habitual AND there is less rain to perform the natural cleansing task itself. This (the summer) is when dry leaves, twigs, and other wind blown items find their way into your gutters and collect. Then, when the rain does come, albeit less frequently, the stage has been set for clogging and overflow. To prevent this from occurring maintain a bi-weekly inspection (and cleaning) of your gutters for the months of June through to September (returning to weekly in the autumn).
3. Gutters Are Conductors of Lightning Electricity
There are two misconceptions about steel gutters as they apply to the lightning storms common to the summer. The first, is that they attract electricity. They do not. However, the material (aluminum, copper, steel) does serve as a conductor, capturing a lightning strike, allowing it to move from the system through to door/window frames and pipes before making landfall. The second misconception is born from the offshoot of the first, thinking that because metal gutters conduct electricity that they provide adequate protection to the exterior of your home. The do not. The NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) states:
“If it is not possible to make a straight connection because of large roof overhangs etc. the connection of the air-termination system and the down-conductor should be a dedicated one and not through natural components like rain gutters etc.” (NFPA 780 Standard for the Installation of Lightning Protection Systems)
That (above) being said, it is known that copper is a superior conductor of electricity. Thus, if you want to best hedge your bets in providing ultimate protection for your gutters and home exterior during summertime strikes you may consider installing copper gutters on your home, especially when your region is prone to seasonal lightning storms.
4. Greater Presence of Pests in the Summer
Summertime brings out the wildlife in your community in hoards. Birds and small rodents naturally gravitate to the roof of your home and into your gutters to nest. In addition, some regions, such as found here in the Lower Mainland, have coyotes that wander down from the hills into local communities. This predator further drives small rodents, their prey, up onto the roof of your home to safety. Both nesting birds and rodents can severely damage your gutter system during the summer. Thankfully there are easy-to-follow measures that can be taken to protect your gutters from birds here, and from rodents here.
Before you and your household head off for summer vacation (etc.) you may consider bringing in a gutter repair specialist to inspect your system to ensure that you have nothing to worry about while away. If you reside within the Lower Mainland BC we welcome you to contact us to book an appointment for an inspection. Until then, have fun and don’t forget the sunscreen!