It’s common knowledge that routine gutter maintenance is vital to keeping your roof in good condition. (Remember: your gutters form part of your roof’s first line of defense against the elements.) What many don’t know is that poorly maintained gutters – specifically clogged gutters – can also be a health risk. That’s because Legionella bacteria (which, as the name suggests, causes Legionnaires’ disease) could be hiding in the stagnant water trapped in clogged gutters.
What Is Legionnaires’ Disease, and How Does It Spread?
People can catch Legionnaires’ disease – a severe type of pneumonia – when they inhale water droplets infected with Legionella bacteria. Symptoms usually develop between 2 to 10 days after the inhalation of infected water droplets. The initial symptoms are headaches, muscle aches and a fever, followed by a cough, shortness of breath and chest pain.
Clogged Gutters: The Perfect Breeding Ground for Legionella Bacteria
Legionella bacteria thrive in stagnant water with temperatures between 68 to 122 degrees. The presence of algae and other types of bacteria (like flavobacteria and Pseudomonas) can also make stagnant water more hospitable to the growth of Legionella bacteria.
Preventing Your Gutters From Becoming a Breeding Ground for Bacteria
Stagnant water can easily reach the said temperature range in spring and summer, which is why it’s important to have your gutters cleaned and inspected at the start of each season.
Important note: while infrequent gutter maintenance is the usual culprit behind stagnating water in your gutters, there are several other suspects as well. For instance, if the pitch of your gutter system is too low, water will accumulate in sections of your gutters, creating an environment that’s the perfect breeding ground for bacteria as well as pests like mosquitoes. If water keeps accumulating in your gutters despite it being maintained routinely, you should have a contractor inspect it.
Northeast Gutters and Remodeling, a company with over 17 years of experience, offers a wide range of professional exterior services, including gutter and siding installation services. To get an estimate, call us at (860) 899-7878, or fill out this form.