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Are Gutter Guards a Waste of Money

Are Gutter Guards a Waste of Money

gutter guard

Gutters fill with leaves and debris throughout the year. It is a pain to clean them out so some people will add gutter guards to the home and we wonder if they will work? Are gutter guards a waste of money? The gutter accumulates the debris and becomes heavier, and can cause costly repairs. In all honesty, they are a waste of money. The best thing to do is leave the gutters open and clean them regularly.

Let’s take a look at what gutter guards are and why you don’t need them.

What are Gutter Guards

Simply put, gutter guards are installed on top of your gutter system. The idea is this keeps large debris like leaves from entering your gutters and causing a clog. The part that is forgotten by most homeowners, is the need to clean the gutter system regardless of having a gutter guard set up. This can take a lot longer as you actually have to remove the gutter guards. Consider the type of gutter guard you would install prior to committing money to this project.

Plastic gutter guards are cheap and don't work well.

Different Types of Gutter Guards

Believe it or not, the choices for gutter guards are the same as your choices for a gutter system. It is important to matchup the gutter guards and gutters themselves with the same material and color. Here are the material choices for a gutter and gutter guards.

  • Plastic-not a good product. Cracking during cold and fading during warm only weakens the product.
  • Metal Mesh-the mesh clogs easily and since it is metal, can rust in the elements. This requires constant replacing.
  • Aluminum-this is the best option. It is lightweight and with the right heavy-duty paint, it can last a long time.

As you can see, plastic and metal mesh gutter guards are a waste of money. If you feel the need to install any gutter guards, make sure that you utilize the most effective materials that can last the longest. Reducing the amount of time you spend on the ladder cleaning the gutters is key.

How Much Do They Cost To Install

Even though it may seem like gutter guards are a great idea, there are many other projects that would benefit from you spending money on. The basic cost of a gutter guard ranges from $.50 to $10 per foot. This range is so vast due to the material that you select to use. On average, a gutter guard system can cost you upwards of $2,000 for a complete project. That is typically the cost of the original gutters.

Cleaning the gutters can be expensive if you hire someone.  You can also do it yourself.

Gutter Cleaning Gets More Expensive

First off, anytime you add additional materials to an already installed product, you risk changing the original intentional use of that product. Adding gutter guards to your gutter system sounds good, but isn’t the best solution. Consider that adding gutter guards creates more cleaning for you the homeowner as well as the potential for bigger issues around your roof.

If the gutter system is not cleaned properly, the weight of debris, mildew, and moss can begin to take over your roof and stress the gutter system. This causes substantial damage to the roof and requires an expensive cleanup, thus making the gutter guards a waste of money.

Other Recommended Maintenance

One area of recommended maintenance is to take a look at a roof inspection checklist. This is because the gutters are attached to the roof and you will be up there cleaning them. Some of the areas to look at on the checklist are gutters, vent pipes, downspouts, look for moss growth and lichen.

Did a bad storm just come through the area and not sure if your roof was damaged? There are different things you can do to inspect your roof. Those are checking the shingles (if it is a shingle roof), inspecting penetrations and flashings, flashing boots, flashing around the walls, and also the attic for leaks.

Downspout extensions are important for the gutters to carry water away from the house.

Lastly, if you haven’t added downspouts to your gutters, this is very important. Downspouts will carry the water away from the home and help keep water from seeping into the house. Add on an extension so the water is taken at least 10 feet away from the home if possible.

When Should I Call A Professional

When it comes to anything related to getting onto a ladder, it is a great idea to reach out to a professional. Calling a professional gutter installer to manage your gutter situation is key. Typically, you do not have the tools to install a gutter system and it’s not the best idea to go climbing onto your roof. Call your local home inspection team first as they can inspect your roofing system and recommend a great gutter system professional.

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How To Prepare For An Appraisal (Sellers)

How To Prepare For An Appraisal

Preparing For an Appraiser

Prepare a list of upgrades/improvements:

You should create a bulleted list of any and all improvements that have occurred in the last 3 years or during your ownership.

Here are some examples:

  • new baseboards
  • backsplash
  • water filtrations
  • new exterior paint
  • anything and everything you can think of

A Realtor can help you organize this list better so you can give this to an appraiser.

Treat it like a showing: 

Also, you should prepare the house like you would for a showing.

Here are some tips to showing your property:

  • Turn all the lights on
  • Open blinds in an open position to allow light in
  • Make all the beds
  • De-clutter and make sure the house is clean
  • Remove pets
  • Turn down the A/C so it is nice a cool in the home

Be prepared for pictures:

Appraisers are required to take pictures for the appraisal report. So, they will be going into each room and taking pictures.

This is just another reason why you should treat it just like a showing.

Provide a survey: 

If you have a property survey leave one for the appraiser on the kitchen counter.

Summing It Up

If you have further questions, you can comment down below!

You should always speak with your listing agent to see what else you can do to prepare for an appraisal.

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What Is An Open Ground?

What Is An Open Ground?

An open ground is when a three-pronged outlet is not connected to the home’s grounding system. This is unsafe because if a fault were to happen, the surge could damage equipment or people rather than routing to the ground.

Open grounds are commonly found during home inspections. As home inspectors in Rumford Maine, we help homeowners and homebuyers find open grounds in their home to protect their investment and their families.

Let’s talk about what grounding is, how an outlet can have an open ground, why it’s unsafe, and how to repair an open ground.

What Is Grounding?

Electrical grounding is a backup pathway for electrical current to flow in case there is a fault. An electrical fault is any abnormal electric current. Therefore, grounding helps abnormal electrical current find safe pathways. If grounding was not in your home, abnormal electrical currents may damage your appliances, home, or people.

Open Ground Outlet Overview

Properly wired outlet
Outlet that is wired correctly.

How To Identify An Open Grounded Outlet

You can identify an open ground by using an outlet tester. Or, you can physically remove each outlet from the wall and ensure the ground wire is properly connected to the outlet.

An outlet tester will show a light up code to tell if there is an open ground. In the case above, two right lights indicate that it is correct. One middle light means there is an open ground.

Is An Outlet Required To Be Grounded?

While nobody is going to come arrest you if you have an open ground, having an equipment ground is code enforced through the National Electrical Code. Moreover, your home insurance may get cancelled or you may be unable to sell your home without repairing it.

Local Building Codes

Your local building department will enforce equipment grounds on all outlets when you build something new and pull a permit. For example, if you remodel your kitchen or even build a new home. But, you are not required by law to update open grounded outlets.


When you change insurance policies, the new insurer may require an inspection which inspects for open grounds. Some states, like Maine, require a four-point inspection which may show you have an open ground and lead to the insurance company requiring repairs.

Selling Your Home

When you sell your home, you are likely to have a home inspection. During the home inspection, the inspector will inspect a representative number of outlets and you can count on them to report an open ground if they find one. In most cases, home inspectors flag open grounds as safety items that should be repaired. This effectively will tell the buyer to ask for repairs or concessions in the deal to repair it themselves.

Is An Open Ground Safe?

In short, an open ground is not safe. While the chances of an open ground actually hurting someone is low, it is not zero. Moreover, while it may not hurt you, it could very easily cause a house fire. Just take a look at the statistics below.

The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), which is a U.S. government organization shared research that says, “In the United States, there are approximately 1000 deaths per year, as a result of electrical injuries. Of these, approximately 400 are due to high-voltage electrical injuries, and lightning causes 50 to 300. There are also at least 30,000 shock incidents per year which are non-fatal.”

Additionally, according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), “Each year in the United States, arcing faults are responsible for starting more than 28,000 home fires, killing and injuring hundreds of people, and causing over $700 million in property damage. … Sixty-five percent of home fire deaths result from fires in homes with no working smoke detectors.”

Ultimately, open grounds caused by abnormal faults can easily lead to house fires, electrical shock, and death.

So What Should You Do?

You need to repair an open ground as soon as possible. Let’s take a look on how to do that.

How To Repair An Open Ground

Once an open ground is properly identified, you can begin to repair the open ground. Follow the steps carefully below to repair your open ground. If you are not handy or feel uncertain at any point, you should contact a licensed electrician for help.

Step 1.

Turn off the power to the room/outlet. This is the most important step. Use your outlet tester to be sure power is turned off.

Step 2.

Remove the outlet from the wall. Removing the outlet from the wall will help you see the grounding equipment and attach it to the outlet.

The next steps I have labelled 3a, 3b, and 3c. Follow the step that makes sense for your use case. Grounding was required starting in the 1970s. In homes with electrical wiring older than the 1970s, more than likely, you will not have ground wiring throughout your home.

Step 3a.

If your home already is pre-wired with a grounding wire, there should be an available ground wire to connect to the green screw on the outlet. Just like the featured image of this post.

Step 3b.

If a grounding wire is not present, sometimes, the grounding is connected via the metal box the wires sit in. This should be verified first with a multimeter. Then, this can be used to ground the outlet.

If a grounding wire or grounding box is not present, a GFCI outlet can be used. GFCI’s can be installed at the first outlet in a circuit and then it will “protect” the rest of the outlets down the circuit. On the other hand, a GFCI breaker can be installed to protect an entire circuit.

A GFCI works by measuring the current on the hot side versus neutral side. If at any point, these currents differ, it would mean electrical current is flowing outside the circuit and the power will mechanically shut-off.

Words of Caution on GFCIs for Grounding

Please understand, GFCI’s do not replace grounding. They simply make an ungrounded outlet safer and are an acceptable alternative.

All outlets must be marked with “No Equipment Ground”.

Be sure to check with your local building code to ensure your area permits this. This may not be approved by insurance companies and your GFCI may fail during a fault.

GFCIs should be tested monthly for operation.

Cloth Wire without Grounding Wire

Step 3c.

If no ground wire is present, the proper way to ground the outlet is to run a physical grounding wire from every outlet to the electrical panel and to the ground. This can be intensive depending on the home so it is recommended to hire a licensed electrician.