Never Clean Your Gutters? Here’s How That Could Be Affecting Your Health

Michael Rubino

October 5

Faulty gutters and leaders are one of the TOP issues that lead to water damage in a home. When the seasons change, it’s important to make sure these systems are kept free from debris, properly installed, and not broken.

Mold in your home can stem from problems like leaks, flood, a humidifier that's running too high or even just not cleaning often enough. But there's one more culprit you might not have considered: clogged gutters.

Gutters are designed to divert rainwater away from your house by collecting it and sending it through your downspouts. The shallow troughs can overflow, though, if they become filled with leaves, dirt or debris. That can allow water to seep into your home and set the stage for mold, explains Michael Rubino, author of The Mold Medic and founder of the indoor air quality brand HomeCleanse.

"If there are weak points where the gutter meets the roof, when water is overflowing in the gutter, water can intrude into the house," Rubino says. Gutter overflow can also cause water to be dumped directly onto your home's foundation (instead of beyond the foundation), which can cause moisture to accumulate to in basements or crawlspaces, he adds.

And any time water or moisture begins to build up, you've got ideal conditions for mold. The fungus grows and spreads on damp, organic matter, including wet building materials like walls or insulation, according to The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). And it can happen quickly: "Mold colonies can form in as little as 24 to 48 hours," Rubino notes.

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