Routine gutter maintenance is well-known for its importance in maintaining a healthy roof. (Remember, your gutters are the first line of defense against the elements on your roof.) The fact is that poorly maintained gutters, especially clogged gutters, can be hazardous to your health, as well as the environment. Those clogged gutters could harbor Legionella bacteria, which causes Legionnaires’ disease.
What Is Legionnaires Disease?
As an atypical form of pneumonia, Legionnaires’ disease is caused by any Legionella species, but most commonly by Legionella pneumophila. Legionella thrives in stagnant water, such as that found in clogged gutter systems. Gutter cleaning is important to prevent the spread of Legionnaires’ disease.
Pneumonia can cause symptoms such as a runny nose or a cough. In 1976, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched an investigation into what was making attendees of the American Legion Convention in Philadelphia so sick, and it was only then that it was discovered. Hundreds of people were hospitalized, and dozens of people died as a result.
Cleaning your gutters twice a year is recommended. Gutter shields, which keep leaves and other debris from clogging your gutters, are a great way to prevent this problem.
How Legionella Bacteria Can Grow in Your Gutters
Dirt and debris accumulate in gutters, causing them to overflow. Since the blockage prevents the water from flowing properly, it will remain stagnant in the gutters. Stagnant water is a breeding ground for Legionella bacteria, which thrives in temperatures ranging from 68 to 122°F. A higher risk of bacteria growing in gutters occurs during the summer months, when roofs can easily heat up, causing the bacteria to multiply more rapidly.
Along with warm temperatures and stagnant water, leaves stuck in gutters and insects attracted to stagnant water can create a type of sediment that encourages algae, flavobacteria and Pseudomonas to grow. They all contribute to the proliferation of Legionella. Consequently, when dealing with gutter blockages, you need to be cautious and ensure that you are protected from infection.
A clog is more likely to form if you wait too long to have your gutters cleaned. As a general rule, experts recommend cleaning your gutters at least twice per year. Installing gutter guards is another way to keep debris from getting into your gutters. When it comes to preventing debris from entering your gutters, gutter guards or gutter shields, depending on who you ask, are a very effective way to keep them clear. As a result, the rainwater will continue to flow unhindered, preventing the spread of this dangerous bacterium.
How to Prevent Legionnaires’ Disease
Cleaning your gutters at least twice a year is an effective way to prevent this health problem. Gutter Guard installation before the summer is also a good idea to reduce the amount of debris that accumulates in your gutters throughout the year. You’re more likely to contract legionella if you let leaves, twigs, and other organic matter accumulate in your gutters for an extended period of time.
Hire Gutter Cleaning Professionals
There are many safety precautions that must be taken, as well as a high level of attention to detail, as you may have noticed. To avoid this, consider hiring a professional. The risk of coming into contact with contaminated water can be minimized this way. The task will also be completed thoroughly and correctly. You can also rest assured that the job will be done safely because experts usually have the right tools and skills to do the job.
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