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Clogged Gutters Can Cause These 5 Problems


Ah, the pleasures of fall in the Chicagoland area. The cooler weather, the bonfires, watching the colorful leaves on the trees as they flutter into your gutters and clog them up…

Okay, so it’s not all pleasant. Having to totter on a ladder while digging rotting leaves and gunk out of your gutters is not a fun job. But if you’re a homeowner, it’s well worth the time and aggravation to do so. Why? Gutters and downspouts are designed to redirect water away from you home. But when they become clogged, gutters can cause a long list of water related problems that can be damaging to your home and expensive to fix.

So this year, don’t put off this needed chore. Need some inspiration? Then ponder over the following five problems often caused by clogged gutters.

What Can Happen if Gutters Aren’t Cleaned


  1. Weakened foundation: Depending on the size of your home, every inch of rainfall can translate to over 1000 gallons of water pouring down your roof! When gutters function properly, that water will flow through a downspout and away from your home. But when clogged, water will overflow gutters and pour down your walls. Pooling water around your foundation can cause erosion, leading to foundation cracks and settling which can weaken the structure of your home.
  2. Destroyed gutters: When your gutters are clogged and the water has no place to go, they can become very heavy. A gallon of water weighs over 8 pounds and just one foot of gutter can hold up to 2 gallons. Add that to the mass of dead leaves and other gunk and you can see how all that extra weight can bend your gutters or tear them away from the roof.
  3. Wall and ceiling damage: Trapped water from clogged gutters can rot the wooden fascia boards your gutters are mounted to, allowing moisture to enter your home. And during our Chicago winters, clogged gutters can help create ice dams which can drive snow melt underneath your shingles. (See our article, “How to Prevent Ice Dams”.)
  4. Wet basement: If your basement hasn’t been waterproofed, the water pouring down your foundation due to clogged gutters can seep through your basement’s porous walls and floor, leading to a damp basement. And where it’s damp and dark, mold can easily begin to grow, quickly becoming a problem.
  5. Insect invasions: Nobody wants mosquitos buzzing around in their backyard. But pooling water in your gutters is a perfect breeding ground for them. Mud and damp leaves can also be a welcoming spot for bees and wasps to build their nests.

So now you know what can happen if you don’t clean your gutters. But the good news is that it’s not usually a difficult fix. But before you drag out your ladder, here are some tips for doing the job safely.

What You Need to Know Before Cleaning Your Gutters


  1. Ladder safety 101: Your ladder should be sturdy, safe and long enough for the job. The two hinged metal braces (spreaders) should be locked down and straight. Never set it on uneven ground and never sit or stand on the very top step of the ladder.
  2. Use the appropriate tools: Thick leather gloves, protective eyewear and long sleeves add an additional layer of protection against bacteria, cuts and pests. A scooping tool and bucket are helpful when cleaning out and disposing of debris. A garden hose is also useful in washing away mud and unclogging downspouts. 
  3. Know your limitations: If the job is too physically demanding, or you’re not comfortable in high places, or you just don’t want to deal with it yourself, contact a professional to clean your gutters. The cost will vary depending on the size of your home.

If clogged gutters have caused water damage issues in your Chicagoland home, contact ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons immediately. Water damage does not just go away. In fact, the longer it’s left unattended, the worse it’ll get – causing everything from structural damage to mold infestations. Our state-of-the-art equipment and technology will dry your home and we’ll also repair the damage!


About Us: ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons, is a 2020 recipient of the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics, and recipient of the 2020 Skokie Business of the Year Award, Honorable Mention Category. ServiceMaster Restoration By Simons (MBE/WBE) is a family operated, IICRC & OSHA Certified company serving Chicago, Oak Park, River Forest, and the North Shore. We provide commercial disaster restoration services including Water & Flood Damage Restoration, Fire & Smoke Damage Restoration, Mold Remediation and a wide range of interior specialty cleaning including COVID-19 Cleaning Services, Hoarder & Clutter Cleaning, Post-Construction Cleaning, Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning to residential and commercial customers. For more information, call 773-839-5542 or visit or


  • Nasutsa Mabwa

    Nasutsa Mabwa is President of ServiceMaster by Simons, a MBE/WBE City of Chicago and State of Illinois certified firm. She is a 2020 Daily Herald Business Ledger C-Suite awardee, a member of Crain’s Chicago Business 40 under 40 and a 2018 ServiceMaster(c) Achiever Award recipient. She is a Civic Federation Board Member, an Advisory Board Member for as President Elect on the Executive Committee for the Evanston Chamber of Commerce. She is IICRC certified for WRT & FSRT.