How Often Should You Clean Your Gutters?

You may be surprised how easily that your home’s gutters can become clogged. In fact, it only takes a few leaves or just ten pine needles to create a blockage that’s impermeable enough to prevent water from flowing to your downspouts. When this runoff water has no place to go, it starts to spill over the sides of your gutters and onto the ground.

Fallen leaves in the rain gutter to autumn.

That’s why is so essential that you keep your gutters clean and free of debris. Otherwise, the misdirected water can cause significant damage to your home over time, such as stained siding, rotting fascia boards, flooded basements, deteriorating landscaping, and even foundation problems.

Which begs the question: how often should your gutters be cleaned?

Semiannual Gutter Cleaning

The short answer is at least twice per year. Ideally, they should have any debris removed after the leaves have fallen from the trees near your home. A good rule of thumb to remember when to clean your gutters is to pair it with another home-related task, such as:

  • swapping out the batteries in your smoke detector
  • changing the light bulbs on your porch
  • getting your vehicle’s tires rotated
  • paying your auto insurance premiums
  • resetting your clocks for Daylight Saving Time

When To Clean Gutters More Frequently

However, there are instances when you should remove the debris from your gutters more than just two times each year. A good example may be after a severe storm which blew substantial leaves, twigs, and other objects onto your roof. Also, if you have several trees with branches that hang over (and drop leaves onto) your roof, your home may require more frequent gutter cleanings. Finally, if your home is placed in a downhill position from one or more homes or buildings where debris from those homes easily gets blown onto your roof, then debris may accumulate in your gutters at a more rapid rate, which in turn may necessitate additional gutter cleanings.

Man in black and purple jacket cleaning gutters on ladder with teal gloves

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How To Reduce Gutter Debris

If you want to minimize the number of times each year that you clean your gutters, there are some measures you can take. The most comprehensive step is to install a gutter protection system like Gutter Helmet which keeps solid debris out of your gutters. You can also flush out your downspouts when you do clean your gutters so as to prevent debris accumulation inside them. Finally, you can inspect your gutters to make sure they are aligned properly and lying flush against your eaves; otherwise, gaps form which become “receptacles” for gutter-clogging debris.

How To Clean Gutters

There’s no real science to cleaning out your gutters. You can employ innovative methods like using a garden hose, spray nozzle, and wand extender to flush your gutters clean. For drier debris, a shop vac with a long hose and special attachment can suck leaves and pine needles out. And there’s always the tried-and-true method of using a spade or scoop in order to clean gutters out by hand. Another option is to hire a contractor to do the job for you; the cost usually isn’t exorbitant, and you don’t have to climb on a ladder or roof and risk your safety.

Cleaned gutter with red tile roof

Cleaning your gutters is one of those home maintenance tasks that is necessary to prevent costly damage in the future. So it’s important not to neglect this chore, no matter how cumbersome or filthy it may be.

Written by Del Thebaud

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