Is it December already? Winter has snuck up on many this year, and although most of us are snow-free so far, that’s no excuse to fall behind on your seasonal maintenance. Yard work can be hard work, but it’s important to rake your leaves or you may find your home suffering Old Man Winter’s wrath.
They may be great for crunching and make excellent piles for jumping, but fallen leaves require some attention. Many rake their leaves to keep their yards looking spick and span, but leaf-raking is more for function than fashion. Undisturbed foliage presents more problems for homeowners than a nasty glance from a neighbor.
A well-raked yard helps protect:
- Downspouts & gutters
- Window wells
By ensuring these areas are appropriately maintained, homeowners are ultimately helping to prevent water-related damage. Consider each area.
Downspouts & Gutters
When downspouts and gutters are clogged with leaves that have collected due to an unraked yard, they stop functioning properly and hold water instead of sending it away from the home. This increases the opportunity for water to enter the home. To learn more about downspout and gutter maintenance, including the ideal length of a downspout, check out our article on Downspout Care.
Should a window well become filled with leaves, not only does it impact the amount of light a basement receives, but it becomes easier for water to become trapped in the well. This trapped water will likely seep into the foundation of the home and into the basement. Learn more about keeping your window wells functioning correctly, including our recommendation for gravel, from our article on Maintaining Your Window Wells.
To help combat the fallibility of foundation systems, as none are completely impermeable to water, it is important to keep the soil around your home dry. Clusters of errant, unraked leaves, provide a great environment to trap water in your home’s surrounding dirt. The moisture from wet ground close to your foundation can easily become moisture in your foundation. To learn more about keeping the soil around your home dry, including a discussion on slope, check out our article on Proper Grading.
As you can see, raking leaves has less to do with aesthetics than many believe. It may seem like a task you can leave to the last minute, but we’d like to encourage homeowners to take faster action. Clean your yard and protect your home. We’re committed to helping homeowners stay safe, comfortable and dry year-round. If you have a Home Inspection related topic you’d like us to address, please comment below or find us on Twitter and we’ll do our best to help out.