It's easy to forget about your gutters, but if they're clogged or damaged your home can undergo some serious damage. If your guttering overflows with water or doesn't route it down the downspouts properly, the water can seep through your walls leading to structural damage, damage to your landscaping, and mold and mildew growth. You should already be cleaning your gutters or having someone do it for you at least once a year, but take a look at your gutters for signs of damage or other problems that could cause them to fail if it's been awhile since you've done so:
If you see pools of water accumulating near your downspouts, it's likely only a matter of time before it begins sinking below your home, which can lead to rot and cracks in your foundation. The standing water could be due to water or melting snow not routing smoothly through your guttering system, but it could also be that you simply need a downspout extension to move the water further from your home.
If your gutters are coming detached or sagging, it's time for a repair or replacement. Gutters that are completely detached on one side can easily fall completely off during a wind or rain storm. If it happens while it's raining, you could end up with serious water damage that is expensive to repair very quickly. If they're sagging, they're not routing water through the guttering system properly, either due to being clogged with heavy debris or simply because they're old or damaged and losing their structural integrity.
External Gutter Damage
Your gutters should look smooth and free from any external damage. If you see rust or cracks, it's best to replace them as soon as possible since these issues can lead to water leaks. Small cracks can sometimes be repaired without having to replace the entire affected gutter, but if you see multiple cracks or rust all along the edges, a full replacement is the best option.
Exterior Home Damage
Paint and siding don't last forever, but if you notice your paint chipping or any changes to your siding, your gutters could be to blame. If they're not routing water away from your home properly and it's seeping down the exterior of your home, it will wear paint and siding finishes away. Without paint to protect any exposed wood, water leaks can quickly lead to rot that can work it's way to your interior walls.
If you don't notice any telltale signs of problems but your gutters are old, it's best to have a roofer come out and take a look at them anyway to see if they should be repaired or replaced. Gutters should be replaced every 15 to 20 years, and some problems won't come on slowly, so if they're nearing the end of their lifespan, it's best to have them done as soon as possible.