Your Gutter Health Matters

How did your house gutters fare with the heavy rain last month?  Let’s be honest, most of us don’t spend much time thinking about our gutters. It’s usually only when we have torrential rain or bush fires that we notice them, but by then it can be too late.

Also, whilst a blocked roof gutter may not seem like a big deal, gutter cleaning is really important for the health of your home and its occupants – that’s you and your family!

Even the best roof designs in the world and professionally installed house gutters require some scheduled maintenance along the way. A simple blocked gutter can become ‘a big deal’ really quickly. Just some leaves and twigs can wreak havoc on your home and result in huge damage and, therefore, huge costs. Not to mention the health risks …

Our Top 4 issues include:

  • Mould Poisoning – roof gutter debris that stays damp can lead to wood rot and toxic mould. Mould has been associated with respiratory illness and can cause serious health problems. The Department of Health advised that the World Health Organization (WHO) has ‘concluded that there is an association between exposure to dampness or mould and conditions such as asthma, allergic alveolitis and mould infections in susceptible individuals’. As a result, Australian state and territory governments set out the health effects of mould and provide advice on dealing with dampness and mould in the home.
  • Damaged roofing and house gutters – pooling water can cause roofing materials to absorb moisture, soften and sag. Blocked roof gutters with pooling water can also lead to rotting, even with premium products such as Colorbond – gutter replacement becomes inevitable.

Similarly, blocked house gutters that overflow can breach the waterproofed areas of your home and allow water ingress. This damage is often irreparable and requires external and internal remediation. 

  • Insect and pest breeding – pooling gutter water makes a perfect breeding ground for pests like mosquitoes. The NSW Health Department offers clear guidance around the hazardous nature of these pests and cites keeping drains and roof gutters clear to avoid standing water as one of the measures to prevent them.
  • Animal infestations – animals such as rats, possums and mice can use debris-filled gutters for shelter. All of these examples are well adapted to living in very close association with humans, sharing their food and shelter. You can avoid the risk of these unwanted house guests and thereby avoid the risk of them transmitting any of the myriad of diseases they carry to you or your family.

We understand, life gets busy but, as we’ve said above, overlooking the health of your roof guttering can pose a real health risk to you and your family. Toxic mould is real and should be taken seriously. Conditions such as asthma, allergic alveolitis and mould infections are not to be taken lightly and should be avoided.

Similarly, providing a safe haven for rodents increases your risk of exposure to contact with their bacteria-laden urine or faeces, bloodsucking ectoparasites such as fleas and skin disease transmission to you or your pets.

Aside from the health risks posed by blocked house gutters, water damage to your home can result in some hefty bills for remedial works. And you may not be insured for it … taking SunCorp as an example of a well known Australian home insurer, they make clear that claims may not be accepted where gutter maintenance or clearance is shown to be lacking. 

And for the Shoalhaven region, as we all saw in the summer of 2019/2020, the risk of bushfire is very real. Allowing leaves and twigs to build up in your roof gutters increases the risk of your home being damaged or lost due to ember attacks. 

So, how to ensure you do not fall foul of these issues?

  1. If you’re confident to do so, using appropriate PPE and height safety precautions, you can clean the roof gutters yourself. It’s important to clear both your house gutters and downpipes of blockages such as leaves or sticks. Often a combination of gloved hands and a running hose pipe are the most effective methods
  2. If you’re not comfortable to do it yourself, use a professional such as plumbers from Parrish. Doing so will ensure that they comply with all of the WorkCover requirements that keep them safe 
  3. Install gutter guard. In fact, that is one of the Top 3 tips issued by the NSW RFS in preparing your house for bush fires. This is a service that should be conducted by a professional such as Parrish, more details are available here.

So now you know why your gutter health is so important. These three simple steps can help keep you healthy and save you a fortune! If you have any questions get in touch with our team today. We service the entire Shoalhaven region and offer emergency plumbing services 24/7

Frequency of Gutter Cleaning 

Twice a year is the optimal number of times to clean gutters – in Spring and Autumn.  Check gutters and gutter downpipes are clear of debris, secure and sturdy to ensure they withstand any severe weather.  To make this process easy and ensure gutters stay healthy and free-flowing all year round install gutter screens to reduce debris, clogging and the need for frequent cleaning.

Gutters with All-flow gutterguard to protect house from leaf debris or burning embers

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