Maintaining the gutters on your home is probably not high on your list of maintenance chores. But it’s more important than you may have previously thought, as skipping this task could allow water runoff to end up where it shouldn’t and damage areas in and around your home. So, when should you clean your gutters? The answer usually depends on various factors we’ll explore in a few.
But first, let’s talk about why a well-maintained gutter system is vital for your home. Gutters have one function: controlling the runoff of water, ice, and snow from your roof in a controlled and efficient manner.
Gutter designs combine a very specific installation slope with gravity to collect runoff and direct it safely to the ground. How often you clean your gutters can affect how well they perform.
When gutters are not cleaned regularly, debris from the roof, overhanging trees, and pests can cause them to clog. These clogs lead to overweighting of the fasteners, which can pull away from the fascia board and cause a sag.
Unfortunately, these sags can cause overflows, leading to foundation, landscaping, and driveway erosion. Left unrepaired, overflows can also cause damage to your roof, siding, fascia, and soffits, leading to expensive repairs and a breach in your roofing and siding systems.
We’ll discuss how often to clean gutters based on several factors, such as the type of trees around your home, the weather conditions, and the size and shape of your gutters.
How Often Should Gutters Be Cleaned?
Even though they might look similar, every gutter system differs from another. When a gutter system is installed, various factors should weigh in to match the gutters with the roof design and size and how much rain falls in your area. So, it’s first essential that these design standards are met to render an optionally-functioning gutter system.
It’s not unusual for a homeowner to ask when to get gutters cleaned because many things determine how often the task needs to happen.
According to FEMA, your gutters may only have to be cleaned twice a year, depending on your situation. But some gutters have to be cleaned every quarter or even monthly. How often to clean gutters for your home should be based on the scope and cause of the frequently required cleaning, i.e., what tends to cause debris in your gutters and how often it occurs.
Here are a few common situations that might influence how often you should clean your gutters:
- Large, deciduous trees nearby that drop their leaves onto your roof
- Conifers that are close enough to deposit cones and needles large enough to block a downspout
- Plants growing in your gutters due to birds that drop seeds and dirt into standing water
- After a heavy rain or snow event
- Poorly designed or maintained gutters that clog easily
Your gutter system may have one or several of these impacts that impede its ability to allow adequate and effective drainage. Sometimes it helps to seek a gutter professional’s opinion about the frequency of gutter cleaning to ensure proper water runoff from your home’s gutters.
How to Clean Your Gutters
If your situation requires cleaning your gutters more than the average, consider investing in a maintenance contract with a local roofing or gutter professional. Installing gutter guards can also reduce the frequency of the required cleanings.
Learning when to get gutters cleaned and how to clean them is useful to know. However, cleaning gutters requires close proximity to the roof’s edge, which can be dangerous, especially if the roof is wet or you’re not accustomed to heights.
There are ways to make cleaning gutters more safe and efficient. You’ll need to plan ahead, but learning basic DIY skills, like gutter cleaning, is usually a good investment of your time.
Tips for DIY Gutter Cleaning
If you want to try your hand at cleaning your gutters, here are a few practical tips for doing the job effectively:
- Gather the necessary tools and safety gear needed, like a sturdy, appropriately-sized ladder, gloves, eye protection, bucket, hose, etc.
- Remove any large debris by hand or with a scoop, taking care not to drop the debris below where there may be a bystander.
- Flush out any small debris with a hose or a gutter cleaning attachment. Use a broom to dislodge any stubborn clogs if necessary, but be extra careful working close to the roof’s edge. If possible, do this work from a ladder, not the roof.
- Check for any leaks or cracks and repair them if needed. Look for staining, rust, and corrosion. You’ll also want to watch for brown or gray vertical streaks on the roofing material. This is often mold or mildew, so wear breathing protection just in case.
- Install gutter guards or screens to reduce the amount of debris that collects in your gutters.
Tips For Easier and Safer Gutter Cleaning
While cleaning out your gutters, here are a few practical tips to ensure your safety and make the job easier:
- Wear protective clothing and eyewear that is comfortable and fits well.
- Use a sturdy and stable ladder and have someone hold it for you. Attach stabilizers to your ladder for extra support.
- Avoid working on wet, windy days and walking on a wet roof.
- Do not lean over or reach too far from the roof. If you need to get that close to the roof’s edge, do the work safely from a ladder.
- If you are not comfortable or confident doing it yourself in any way, always hire a pro.
- Avoid using chemicals and cleaning solutions that will make their way into the groundwater system whenever possible. Use green cleaning products instead, as these are much more eco-friendly to the environment.
Why You Should Hire a Professional Gutter Cleaner
The time, energy, and personal risk of cleaning your own gutters may not be right for you. Sometimes, hiring a professional to clean your home’s gutters is the best option.
A professional gutter cleaner can often do the work more efficiently and safely, and they usually guarantee their work. Many companies also offer gutter maintenance contracts that can save you money in the long run while ensuring that your gutters remain clog-free.
A reputable gutter cleaning company will provide a free estimate upon request and have the appropriate training and experience.
Let’s summarize the reasons to hire a pro to clean your gutters:
Save yourself time and energy
Ensure the work is done professionally, with quality workmanship
Avoid the potential for personal injuries or accidents
Extend the lifespan and performance of your gutters with regular cleaning
Regular, professional gutter cleaning can add years of performance to your gutters and prevent water damage in and around your home.
The Takeaway: When Should You Clean Your Gutters?
How often to clean your gutters will depend on the quality of your gutters and their installation and how frequently and badly they clog. Some areas of the country see far more harsh weather than others, and some are constantly pelted with debris from overhanging trees and pests.
The keys to preventing the damage dirty gutters can cause are regular inspections, cleaning, and maintenance. Keeping your gutters clean will contribute to the protection of your home’s foundation and landscaping while keeping you and your family safer from the impacts of water damage and mold.
If you clean your own gutters, remember always to put safety first. Many homeowners prefer enlisting help from a local, qualified gutter cleaning contractor. Either way, you’ll extend the life of your gutters and save money on repairs.
Contact our gutter pros for a free estimate or to schedule a gutter cleaning for your home. At All Star Home, we place a high level of priority on customer satisfaction and have helped homeowners like you all across the U.S. with their home improvement and maintenance needs.