By Michael Murphy Lake Homes Realty/Agent

Cooler temperatures are on the horizon, and the familiar sounds of football season are in the air. Not only is it time to tailgate and throw watch parties, but also now is the perfect time to get your lake home prepared for fall.

And the best place to start prepping is your gutters.

Poorly Maintained Gutters Means Expensive Repairs

Clogs caused by fallen leaves and other debris can overburden your gutters with moisture and weight, causing them to overflow and crack and the wood to become waterlogged. These cracks allow rainwater to seep into your home, and the damage can quickly become extensive.

A single leak in your gutter system can cause a number of serious problems, from cracks in your home’s foundation and soil erosion beneath it to rotted ceilings and walls.

Another possible problem is improperly maintained gutters can cause include flooding in your home’s crawl spaces or basement, which can be breeding grounds for mold and other fungi, and opening your home up as a hotspot for a variety of destructive insects, like termites.

Such structural damage, insects and fungus growth can increase the rate of your home’s deterioration as well as increase your family’s risk of contracting a number of respiratory illnesses.

So, as temperatures start to drop and hurricane season settles in, consider these tips for ensuring your gutters are properly maintained for the protection of your family and your real estate investment.


Clear Away Leaves, Sticks and Other Debris

Twice a year, usually when football season ends or starts back up again, gutters should be cleared of all collected material.

You can do this yourself with limited supplies, or you can hire a professional to empty your gutters for you.

If opting for the DIY option, wear long sleeves to protect yourself from scrapes and insects, and invest in a gutter scoop, gloves and an extendable ladder.

Once all debris has been cleared out, use your hose to run water through each section of your drainage system to flush out any remaining clogs and leaves.


Install Downspout Extensions

If your home does not already have them, consider installing downspout extensions, which allow you to redirect rain water away from your home, landscaping and areas prone to erosion.

These extensions attach to the open end of your gutter’s downspout, which is the vertical pipe from which collected rain water flows at the base of your house.

Found at almost all hardware or home maintenance stores, downspout extensions can redirect water up to 50 feet away from your property.


Invest in Gutter Guards

Another accessory to think about installing is a gutter guard.

Made out of mesh, grated metal or thin metal sheets, these guards are installed over the open tops of your gutters to keep leaves and other debris from clogging them up.

Like downspout extensions, gutter guards can be found at your local Lowes or Home Depot.

These handy pieces of hardware require little attention after installation, however, twice yearly they should be taken off and cleaned as part of your regular gutter maintenance.

For more home maintenance advice and at tips, contact Michael Murphy at MichaelMurphy.