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Gutterman of TN's Blog

Standing Water Is Dangerous

Dangers of Standing Water

You often hear that you should be cautious about leaving water standing in or around your home. You may not know all the reasons why. Stagnant water is hazardous to you, your family and your pets. Soon, you’ll have three more reasons to keep your gutters free of debris and draining properly.

Mosquito Drawing - Nashville TN - Gutterman of TN

I’m sure you don’t need another reason to dislike mosquitoes, but did you know they carry heart worm to pets?

One way that standing water is a threat is because mosquitoes love it.  Dragonflies and other flies also use standing water to grow their eggs. Because human rarely disturb the water, larvae can grow into adults. Believe it or not, standing water is the only place mosquitoes breed. Here in Nashville, we certainly don’t need any more mosquitoes! Mosquitoes carry diseases, including West Nile Virus which was identified in Davidson County just this summer. You may not know that mosquitoes also carry heart worms and tapeworms to dogs. Now you have another reason to hate them.

Compared to standing water from other sources, rain water is fairly clean. However, rain water left still can stimulate the growth of microorganisms and cause problems for some people. Homeowners who fail to keep gutters clean and in working order, may find that the water shows up in a leaky or damp basement or other interior spaces. Even if water is draining properly into the gutters, it must have a way to be channeled away from the home.  Mold is a health hazard; causing respiratory problems and allergic reactions. Mold can start growing within 24-48 hours of water without movement. Mold comes in many different colors and textures and color alone is not a sure indicator of toxicity.

There is one last danger that is invited by leaving water standing in or around your home – E. coli and tetanus also grow there. In the right environment, E. coli can cause urinary tract infections, diarrhea, respiratory illness, pneumonia and numerous other illnesses which can be deadly to the very young and elderly.

Bottom line: make sure that your gutter system is working properly and that no water is left standing in or around your home.

Parts of Your Gutter System

Parts of a gutter system

The first part of a gutter system is the gutter itself.  After debris collects on top of the roof it is collected into the gutter system.  The liquid and smaller particles are then washed down the downspouts.  The size of your downspout correlates with the size of your roof, so the bigger one is the larger the other must be.  After flowing down, the liquid is drained.  You must pick a good spot for the drainage to flow to, or it could come back into the basement and affect important factors such as the foundation of the building.

Making sure water has an unobstructed path helps keep it out of your foundation.

Making sure water has an unobstructed path helps keep it out of your foundation.

 How to protect your gutter system

The estimated life expectancy for an average aluminum gutter is about 20-30 years, however proper care is important for getting the most out of the product.  Cooper gutters can last up to 50 years and steel usually less than 20.  When leaning ladders against your gutter, be sure you do so with care to prevent damage.  Also, the weather can impact your gutters.

It is also important to keep your gutters cleaned out.  Loose debris can clump and cause clogging, making it difficult to drain.  Damaged or clogged gutters can also cause trouble that could be detrimental to your home.  Little things like paint damage all the way up to basement flooding and fire hazards.  Pests, ice formation, and storm damage are large factors to damaged gutters.

 How to maintain your gutter system

Gutters and roofs all require routine maintenance.  Open rain gutters should be cleaned twice a year, once after the Spring when seeds collect, and in the fall when the leaves collect.  Depending on where your home or building is located, additional cleanings may be necessary.  Cleaning your gutters can be difficult, so with safety in mind call a professional for help if needed.