The functionality of your gutters is central to your home's maintenance. With proper gutter repair and cleaning, you can avoid problems such as leaks, basement flooding, and even critter invasion, saving you time and money down the line. Whether you are a new homeowner, or simply need a refresh, this gutter cleaning guide will answer your basic gutter maintenance questions.
How often should I clean my gutters?
By cleaning your gutters and downspouts twice per year, you can generally prevent serious blockages. While this is the industry recommendation, the frequency of your gutter cleaning depends on the conditions of your yard:
- Harsh Winters: If you live in a cold climate, it is important to clear the gutter to avoid ice dams. Ice dams can cause water leaks in your home or may be too heavy, ripping the gutter off of your home.
- Trees or woods: If your home is surrounded by trees, you will likely find plenty of leaves and debris in your gutters. In this case, you might need to have your gutters cleaned by professionals three or four times per year. Also keep an eye on your roof as trees can damage your shingles and allow moisture where it doesn't belong.
- Dry Climates: Especially if you live in a desert, you will have less material accumulating in your gutter. In the absence of leaves, precipitation, and ice, you might only have to clean your gutters once per year.
What happens if I do not clean my gutters enough?
Not cleaning your gutters can lead to a variety of problems. If leaves and debris are left to accumulate, the gutters will become clogged and not drain properly. Cracks and heaviness caused by gutter buildup will also cause leaks and sagging. You also run the risk of small animals, such as birds and mice, making a home in your gutters.
How do I clean my gutters?
When beginning to clean rain gutters, it important to follow the right process. Follow proper outdoor maintenance safety by placing your ladder in a stable spot and taking your time.
Remember: the safest way to clean your gutters will always be calling gutter repair and cleaning professionals!
- Wear the right gear: As with all gutter repair and cleaning jobs, be sure to wear gloves, eye protection, and a face mask while cleaning. This will keep your face and hands safe from potentially dangerous debris.
- Scoop out the debris: Use a small trowel or scoop to carefully remove materials from the gutter. Consider hanging a small bucket on your ladder to deposit the debris.
- Spray: Especially for clogged or very dirty gutters, use a high pressure hose to spray the interior.
- Remember the downspouts!: Use a plumber's snake to remove any clogs and debris from the downspouts. Spray these with water as well. A clean downspout will ensure propr drainage.
When should I call a professional?
If you do not feel safe doing this job, be sure to call a professional to have your gutters cleaned. When in doubt, remember that too many homeowners are injured falling off ladders to try and take on this job yourself. For major cleaning jobs, or when your gutters have visible damage, hiring a gutter repair and cleaning specialist is your best bet. They will also be able to tell you if gutter replacement is necessary.