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The Unsexiest Home Maintenance Chore

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Let’s talk about gutters…

Kaya here from the Fire Safe Marin Team confessing my guilt…I need to clean out my gutters! 

I feel like cleaning out my gutters is always on my to-do list. I live under some redwood trees which drop their leaves all year and constantly fill up my gutters. It’s wintertime so gutters are even more on my mind with all the rain that we are getting, thank you rain, and so I decided to take a look at why I should be doing this task that can sometimes drive me crazy! Why does it matter??

In the winter gutters are crucial to moving water away from the house. If this water is not diverted it can lead to mold and wood decay fungi in your house. Yikes, no thank you! In summer when combustible material such as leaves or pine needles build up in gutters, this creates the perfect environment for an ember to be able to land and start a fire. So let’s get to the good part. If your roof has metal flashing at the edge of the roof, this is going to provide extra protection to the roof edge. What does this mean for you? Regularly cleaning your gutters and making sure that your roof has metal flashing are easy and cost-effective ways that could help save your house from a fire. 

Let’s make sure you have the best kind of gutters! Metal gutters are encouraged because they will not melt or detach.. Plastic or vinyl gutters will detach and fall to the ground, putting your home at a greater risk of catching fire. If you are able to make the upgrade to metal gutters, fantastic! If that is not in the budget this year, don’t worry. Focus on removing any combustible materials in your zero zone- 5 feet next to your house and put it on the list for next year’s project list. 

Did you know that there are now gutter guards? This was an amazing new bit of information for me. They do exactly what it sounds like they would do- they keep debris from going into the gutters! This can help reduce the need to clean them. Just google gutter guards and you can find the right ones for your home. 

Alright let’s go over what we learned:

  1. Clean your gutters! Always make sure that you are being safe and hire a professional if you do not have the right tools. Be sure there is another person around to help you from the ground if needed. 
  2. Check your roof. Make sure that your roof has metal edging. Also check to see what material your roof is made out of. It is best to make sure that it is made from a fire resistant material. 
  3. Check the material of your gutters. If you can upgrade to metal gutters, this is best. 

For more information head to our website. https://firesafemarin.org/harden-your-home/fire-resistant-gutters/