Are My Rain Gutters Making Me Sick?
We hope not! But sadly, YES! They can! They can actually KILL you. If you haven’t read the news, multiple mosquitoes were trapped in Stratford, CT last week that tested positive for West Nile Virus. It is here folks. It is right in all of our backyards. You can choose to ignore it and think it cannot harm you or you can wise up, listen and keep you and your family safe.
The same day I learned of this news, I was out at a condominium complex in Fairfield, CT that is a 55+ retirement type community and it is VAST. They have approximately 5,000 lineal feet of 6″ (over-sized) rain gutters across about 12 buildings housing 150 apartments or so. I would conservatively guess there are about 250 residents in this complex, but it could be as populated as 400. I was out to visit because they were complaining about gutter problems. Oddly enough, my firm, Connecticut Gutter LLC installed all these gutters 6 years ago, so I knew it wasn’t the gutters. I personally installed these gutters and was in charge of this job. When I arrived, I did a visual inspection from the ground and each of the 3 gutters they wanted me to assess looked healthy. They were in great shape without a ding or dent and they were all pitching properly. I was actually surprised because we’ve had a few horrendous winters with record snowfalls since the install.
As a small group of residents milled around me, one with a cane…another two silver-haired folks who had been out picking weeds and collecting sticks as I arrived, the younger “superintendent” who is salaried by the association pulled me aside and told me he was eight weeks new there in the role and had been cleaning gutters on and off since the day he started there, and the task was just too monumental for him. I could see the worry and the calamity in his eyes. He revealed that the gutters were so packed with soil and decomposed leaves that plants were literally growing in some of them, and the sheer weight of what he was pulling out was too cumbersome for him to fathom cleaning 5,000 feet. I don’t blame him! He was pushing a 1 ton stone uphill. The buildings are all draped in trees that just punish everything below all year round (a-hemm, hence the stick collection team).
The few “spokespeople” for the community quickly went into a dissertation on how two gutters were not capturing all the rain water running off an upper roof…and how the gutters were spilling over somewhere in the middle of the gutter run. I climbed a ladder and quickly spied what the superintendent was haunted by in his nightmares. Clogs! The gutters there are all clogged. No mystery to me. In fact, THE number 1 cause of any gutter problem is debris in the gutter. It’s doesn’t take much! The right-sized leaf that spins in the right direction as it floats in the gutter can cork up a gutter outlet and hold some serious water. It didn’t matter in this case. This community hadn’t cleaned these gutters since my crew had installed them. Sad. I honestly was disappointed.
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