Gutter Cleaning – A Homeowners Guide to Gutter Protection
Take a minute after you read this post to go to the upstairs of your home and peak out a bedroom window at your gutters. Yuck, right, all that debris & leaves? Yes, it’s that time of year again where you need to start searching in Google and Yellow Pages for a gutter cleaning service to come out and clear your gutters from leaves, debris, twigs, etc.
Based on last year’s winter weather, it is important for homeowners in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic to clear their gutters and downspouts before the cold weather arrives. Based on long term weather outlooks, its clear that a strong La Nina weather pattern will persist throughout Winter until Spring of 2011, therefore, setting the stage for an interesting Winter in Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. The Pacific Northwest, Rockies, and Lower Ohio Valley expect to see the greatest probability for cold weather and snowy weather.
Here are some things you should know about cleaning your gutters this Fall. If you choose not to do anything and let leaves and debris in your gutters accumulate, you run the risk of ice dams this winter. An ice dam is an accumulation of ice in your clogged rain gutters that builds up overtime, the ice begins to back up underneath the eaves of your roof since the gutter is clogged and at a lower surface temperature then your roof. During the day, the sun and your residual house heat will melt the ice beneath the snow buildup and potentially drip into small crevices within your roof. Water will find the path of least resistance, potentially leading to water issues in your home or in some cases your basement/foundation. At night, everything refreezes, then the process starts all over the next day.
If you do anything this Fall, you should have a gutter cleaning expert come out and clean your gutters to save you from costly repairs in the months of Jan, Feb, March when your heat bill is usually through the roof. (no pun intended) A long term solution to cleaning your gutters is to consider a gutter cover product that provides year round protection. There are a number of credible companies out there that offer a solution: Gutter Helmet®, LeafFilter™, LeafGuard®, and many others. Between the companies, they all claim they are the best, the first, the #1 product for your gutters, but as a consumer you need to do your due diligence about the history of each product and find out how strong the product warranty is.
Being in this business for better part of 28 years, I have heard all the high pressure salesman nightmares related to gutter protection and gutters. A good consultant will come out to your home an evaluate what shape your existing gutters are in. The conversation should start from that point about the investment you will have to make to install a gutter protection product. If you have a fairly new home (< 20 years old), your gutters are most likely in good shape therefore need a protection product that fits over your existing gutters, not an entire one piece gutter protection system. If you have an older home you need to consider replacing your gutters and having a gutter protection product installed to increase the longevity of your gutters for years to come.
Here is a checklist of things to ask a gutter protection, guard, and cover company?
- How long has your dealership been in business? Not the company or manufacturer? (Check Better Business Bureau to validate)
- Who covers my warranty in the event your dealership goes out of business? (Most warranty’s are offered by dealers not manufacturers, therefore if they go out of business, you have no service!)
- What shape are my existing gutters in?
- Could you show me the standard pricing sheet for your gutter protection product? (Many companies and consultants will eye you up and price from there, kick the consultant out of the home if they don’t have a standard pricing sheet! You don’t want to do business with a company that operates like that)
- What is your installation time-frame if I choose your product?
- What other add on products are you currently developing to improve performance of system? (Every good business is innovative, shouldn’t be any different with a gutter protection product)
- Are your installation crews insured, covering me from any liability in the event of injury on my property? (ask for documentation)
- Could you let me know 3 homes in my area, that I could go out and look at your system installed on a home? (If they are neighbors, give them a call, ask about what they paid for system, are they happy, etc.)
Beware of industry “professional sales operations”. Simply put these type companies insist both homeowners be present, have lengthy sales presentations of two hours or more, play a numbers game of inflating their price only to reduce it by hundreds if not thousands of dollars all in an effort to get you to buy on the spot. Do not be fooled!
I hope this post has been informative and helps homeowners make the best investment for their home. Whether you choose Gutter Helmet for your home or another product, our job is to educate homeowners about the benefits and advantages of our system over others. Sometimes other companies do a better job presenting but our product has stood the test time for close to 30 years. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-888-543-5638.