In a sunny, fun-filled city like Phoenix, it is tempting to skip chores like gutter cleaning and visit the attractions instead. You might think that cleaning gutters is only necessary if you live in a place with more rainfall or autumn leaves. But what you might not know is that if left unchecked, gutters can be a breeding ground for trouble, even in Phoenix. If you keep up with gutter clearing, of course, there's still time to get out and see the sights.
Desert Botanical Garden
The Desert Botanical Garden is one of the most stunning natural attractions in Phoenix. It covers more than 140 acres, and within its walls are thousands of different plant species. Here, you'll find both native plants and species imported from around the world. Flowers, cacti, and exotic trees are all part of the collection. In addition to its beautiful displays, the botanical garden periodically has scheduled events, such as presentations about plants and light shows. Time-permitting, take the time to explore the property's trails, where you'll see even more exotic species. There is even an interpretive trail that explains the growth in the desert climate. A library and cafe are also part of the garden.
The Phoenix Zoo first opened its doors in the early 1960s. Today, it spans 125 acres. It is located in the same area as Papago Park. Special events and themed trails, such as the Africa Trail and the Arizona Trail, highlight the diversity of plant and animal life found locally and around the world. Walking the local Arizona trail, you can also get an idea of the insects that live in your area, and ultimately the ones that can thrive in uncleared gutters. Other attractions at the zoo include a children's petting zoo and a train ride.
Papago Park, located right near the Phoenix Zoo, is another attraction to visit on a nice day. The park is a shared municipal park between the cities of Phoenix and Tempe. Papago Park contains several iconic historical attractions, including Hunt's Tomb. The tomb is also listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Nature lovers enjoy the park for its unique geography and its diverse array of desert plants. One plant that you'll find in the park is the saguaro cactus, which is commonly found throughout the Southwest.
Arizona Science Center
The Arizona Science Center, located in downtown Phoenix, is another popular attraction. In fact, it is so popular that it draws over 400,000 alone each year! This science center features over 350 permanent exhibits. It also has many other rotating exhibits. The science center also includes a mummy display featuring mummies around the world. The museum's planetarium showcases the wonders of the night sky.
Another type of insect that can get into your gutters if they are not cleaned is the butterfly. There are many species of butterflies in and around the area, as you'll see with a visit to Butterfly Wonderland. This butterfly exhibit features a rainforest habitat that contains thousands of different butterflies. Despite the name, the center also has exhibits on other insects, too. As you're walking through, keep an eye out for information on mosquitoes and bees. Although mosquitoes are the biggest threat to dirty gutters, these insects might also appear in a gutter that goes uncleaned. At the end of your expedition, be sure to check out the gift shop and cafe.
Consider the Weather
With its hot, dry, desert climate, you don't have to worry about a rainy day in Phoenix very often. However, especially in the spring and summer, it is possible to get strong storms that bring heavy rainfall. July is historically the month with the most rainfall. But August and March are close behind. When a storm does hit, it's a good idea to clean out your gutters. Debris can accumulate in the gutters over time, especially if it is blown in gradually by the wind. If you don't clean out the gutters in between storms, the water starts to accumulate. If it's not removed, it becomes stagnant. In addition to periodic rainstorms, other climate conditions pose hazards to gutters in Phoenix, too. Hot summers dry out any debris in your gutters. Although snow and freezing rain are rare, cold temperatures in the wintertime can cause water to freeze in the gutters.
How the Climate Affects Your Gutters
In addition to producing a foul smell, stagnant water is prime breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Failing to clean out the gutters can also weigh them down. With enough pressure, they get clogged and overflow. When the gutters overflow, they often get the underlying wood wet. In addition to creating a condition called roof rot, which is hard to get rid of, wet wood invites the spread of even more insects. This is particularly true of ants and termites. Given the number of insect species in the state, it's probably not shocking that there are more species of ants here than anywhere else.
While summer's bright, sunny days make it pleasant to be outside, they can also be hazardous for your gutters. The sun's heat dries out any debris in the gutters. If the debris are not cleared, it can spark a fire, which can quickly spread through your house. In the wintertime, ashes that fall from the fireplace can land in the gutters. If they are filled with dry material, a fire can result.
Along with the threat of fire from chimney ashes, winter weather can be a problem for your gutters. If the air is cold enough, any standing water in the gutters can freeze. Sometimes, it can cause the gutters to crack and break. If this happens, you'll be faced with an extensive repair bill. To avoid this situation, clean the gutters thoroughly during late fall or hire a professional to do the job.
Even if you live in a bright, sunny place like Phoenix, it's still important to keep your gutters clean. No matter the season, dirty gutters can create problems. If you're not comfortable cleaning out the gutters yourself, ask a professional to help you out.