How Often Do You Need to Clean Your Gutters?
Gutter cleaning is a necessary part of homeownership. In most parts of the U.S., gutters need cleaning at least twice a year. However, in some areas, gutters may need cleaning every other month with regular checks in between. In drier climates, twice-yearly cleaning may seem like overkill. A number of factors play into how quickly gutters get clogged, how often they need cleaning, and whether you can do it yourself or need to hire professional gutter cleaners.
How Often to Clean Gutters
Gutters need a good cleaning with leaves, dirt, and debris removed at least twice a year. Most people clean gutters in the fall and again in the spring. That cleaning schedule works well for deciduous trees—those that lose their leaves seasonally.
A fall cleaning clears the gutters of debris before winter rain or snows set in. An early spring cleaning removes debris before spring showers cause clogged gutters to overflow. If you don’t plan to clean the gutters yourself, factor these two gutter cleaning costs into your yearly home maintenance budget.
Why You Should Keep Your Gutters Clean
You want to keep gutters clear for a number of reasons. First, clogged gutters can lead to overflow. Water can then damage the fascia or foundation of your home by running down the siding or pooling near the foundation. Second, standing water in gutters may cause the gutters to pull away from the house or allow water to seep under the roofing.
Finally, pests like carpenter ants and mosquitos may take up residence in muddy clogs or standing water. Altogether, clean gutters can save you thousands of dollars in home repair costs and eliminate potential nesting spots for unwanted houseguests.
When inspecting or cleaning the gutters, you’re looking for leaves, twigs, pine needles, and dirt that prevents water flow. Take the opportunity to inspect your home and roofline. Check for cracks in the gutters, areas where the gutters’ hardware may have corroded, and roof and foundation damage.
Conditions That Require More Frequent Cleaning and Potentially Professional Gutter Cleaners
While two gutter cleanings a year is a good baseline, it’s not perfect for every situation. The following factors may increase the number of gutter cleanings needed to keep water flowing:
- Frequent storms: Frequent heavy rains clog gutters even if there’s relatively little debris. High water levels hold the debris in place, adding to it until the gutters overflow.
- Heavy foliage: Whether it’s the seasonal leaves of deciduous trees or the pine needles of evergreens, a home surrounded by tall trees will need more gutter maintenance than one on an open plain. If your home is surrounded, monthly gutter checks and regular cleanings can make sure gutters stay clear and flowing.
- Wind: You’d be surprised by the kind of debris that makes its way into the gutters with heavy wind. Even if your home is clear of trees, wind can blow your neighbor’s leaves, along with dirt, seeds, and anything else caught in the wind into your gutters.
Depending on your landscaping and climate, you may need to clean the gutters every three months or even every month if you’re under heavy foliage in a rainy climate. Consult professional gutter cleaners near you to determine an appropriate cleaning schedule for your area and circumstances.
DIY Gutter Cleaning or Professional Gutter Cleaning
Many people are perfectly capable of DIYing their gutter cleaning. If you’ve got a ladder, gloves, and average back and shoulder strength, you can probably take it on yourself. However, there are times when calling in the pros isn’t a bad idea.
Climbing a ladder, leaning over gutters, and pulling out debris isn’t easy and can be dangerous. If you don’t have a sturdy ladder (or body), consider hiring professionals. You can also save the pros for a deep cleaning twice a year and do smaller, less taxing cleanings yourself if you need to save a few dollars.
No matter how you do it, cleaning the gutters is a fundamental part of home maintenance. It can prevent expensive damage to your home and keep it looking (and functioning) at its best.