Gutter Gunk Worthy of Halloween – Ewwww!

anaerobic breakdown
Debris buildup leads to clogged downspouts.

What’s that smelly gunk, anyway?

So you’ve cleaned out your gutters and smelled that smell. You know what I’m talking about because you’ve smelled that nasty smell! So what is it? Well, it’s not a decaying zombie or a witch that crashed into your roof. Remember how your trees flowered over the spring and you didn’t have time to clean your gutter over the summer? Or maybe, your hadn’t cleaned them the previous fall when the your trees finally dropped their leaves, but it was suddenly too cold and rainy to spend your day on a ladder.

The autumn always brings wind and rain, and therefore increased water flow, straining the effectiveness of your gutters. Has it just come to your attention that debris that was easily looked over during the summer months has made its way into your downspout, stopping up the system? This sudden change in temperature has made us midwesterners keenly aware that freezing temps are just around the corner. Just when the weather has turned, homeowners are now forced to scoop and flush the gutter systems to prepare and protect their homes from the impending freezing and thawing over the next several months.

Are you wondering how those beautiful fall leaves and spring flowers and fruit turn into that wretched smelling sticky mess in your gutter?

Decaying leaves in gutters are a big, smelly problem

If you do find yourself scooping that rancid muck from your gutters this time of year, after neglecting it through the spring and summer, you are familiar with the very distinctive smell. Technically this caused by the anaerobic breakdown of organic matter. Anaerobic decomposition refers to the organic debris in your gutter disintegrating ‘in the absence of oxygen’. For those homes that are familiar with backyard composting, it is widely known that these need to be turned regularly to promote rapid breakdown of organic matter. This process also adds oxygen to the mixture and therefore, prevents that harsh odor. However, organic matter that composts or sits in gutter over a couple of seasons, does so without air movement. As such, rain water that can’t flow freely through the gutter further exacerbates the situation -‘the stink’.

Mosquitoes and trees in my gutters?

imgres-1The anaerobic compost traps moisture creating an ideal environment for unwanted growth. Seeds don’t break down as quickly as the leaves and are implanted into the decomposing material when they fall from the tree. In truth, neglected gutters need only a few seasons of buildup to get create the perfect breeding ground too. images-3This moist habitat of trapped water can also be the perfect breeding ground for mosquitos. Last summer was one of the worst on record, in terms of the number of mosquitos. Aside from unwanted bites, West Nile Virus is a growing cause for concern in the midwest. If fact, according to the CDC, there were 69 confirmed counties in Indiana with mosquitos that tested positive for the virus. Neglected gutters contribute to the problem.

Not only does it smell nasty, but it stains!

If you’re like me, you’ve not only poured your money, but also your heart into your garden. Why ruin it by letting that foul smelling messy substance drip onto your beautiful flowers? Not only does it smell horrific, this gunk stains, too! It stains your siding and gutters and ruins your plants. You’ve invested money on your siding and gutter systems in the hopes they would be long lasting. Protect your home by cleaning your gutters regularly. If you find that you cannot find the time each season, consider saving yourself the hassle and having Gutter Covers of Indiana install covers. Call us before your home’s gutter muck gets to the point of smelling like a decaying zombie.

Did we mention, we clean your gutters before installing covers?