How do you know how often to clean gutters? Find out how to identify when your gutters need to be cleaned and what can happen if you ignore them.

Q: I usually put off cleaning my gutters until late fall when I get my house ready for winter. But after a recent storm, I noticed rain overflowing from them and pooling around the house. This made me wonder if I should be cleaning my gutters more often. How do I find out how often to clean my gutters?

A: It’s not surprising that many homeowners only think about the state of their gutters once a year when winter approaches. Gutters’ placement on the home makes it difficult to inspect them without getting on a ladder, and for most of the year they remain out of sight and out of mind.

There’s no hard-and-fast rule on how often to clean gutters. In some cases, such as on properties that don’t have many trees, one good gutter cleaning each year may be sufficient. However, it may be prudent to monitor the state of a home’s gutters year-round. If homeowners see signs such as gutters overflowing or water not coming through the downspout, this could be an indication that their gutters need more regular maintenance. Read on to get a better idea of how much to clean gutters and what can happen if this chore goes undone for too long.

It’s recommended to clean your gutters once or twice a year.

Generally, experts recommend cleaning gutters one or two times per year. This is usually sufficient to keep the gutters clear enough to do their job, which is to direct excess water away from the home. At an absolute minimum, it’s advisable to clean gutters once in the fall to remove excess leaves and debris. This debris can keep water from moving through and out of the gutters. In the winter, standing water in these areas will freeze, causing the gutter to swell and crack. The effort or cost homeowners will spend on gutter cleaning pales in comparison to the cost of repairing the home’s foundation.

Homes with lots of overhanging trees may need to have gutters cleaned more frequently.

Homes that are surrounded by full, mature trees may be picturesque, but this feature has a downside; these homes’ gutters can quickly fill up with debris as a result of more branches hanging overhead. They are also more susceptible to attracting animals and insects that can use nearby branches as a pathway to the roof. It may be necessary to clean gutters seasonally, and perhaps more than once in the fall. Homeowners are also advised to keep an eye out for leaks year-round as they are indications that the gutters are in need of a clean-out.

The spring and fall are the best times to clean gutters.

Fall is the time most homeowners start thinking about cleaning their gutters. With trees rapidly shedding their leaves and cold weather fast approaching, homeowners prioritize winterizing their homes. But it’s also a good idea to clean gutters in the springtime. Many regions get an onslaught of rain in the spring, so it’s important to ensure that gutters will be able to stand up to the task. Additionally, rain-gutter cleaning gives homeowners an opportunity to assess whether the gutters sustained any damage over the winter due to storms or freezing temperatures. Homeowners who prefer to hire a professional for this task may find that the cost to clean gutters is lower if they schedule seasonal visits in advance.

Not cleaning gutters can lead to mold, pests, roof damage, and more.

It’s easy to neglect a home’s gutters—they can be both difficult to access and arduous to clean. However, not cleaning gutters has consequences beyond being an eyesore. For one, a cozy bed of leaves inside a gutter is an ideal home for critters like mice, insects, or spiders. These pests can harm the gutters or even make their way inside the home.

When gutters stay clogged for an extended period, the excess water that collects inside may damage the roof and foundation as it overflows. Parts of the roof that are continually exposed to water can start to rot or grow mold, and the foundation may become worn down and cracked. While gutter cleaning can be a bit of a hassle, it is undeniably preferable to the damage that not cleaning them can cause. If any of these adverse effects have already set in, homeowners may need to research the best way to clean gutters that are moldy or have pests in order to proceed safely.

It’s safer and more convenient to hire a professional for gutter cleaning.

Homeowners who dread the thought of spending their weekend cleaning their gutters, or who have difficulty managing the task physically, may want to consider searching “gutter cleaning near me” to find a professional gutter-cleaning service. The unpleasantness of dealing with dirty water and soggy leaves aside, tasks such as roof and gutter cleaning that require working up on a ladder pose significant safety risks.

Not only do pros know how to clean gutters safely, but their expertise also makes them quicker and more efficient at the job than the average homeowner. Gutter-cleaning cost is relatively minimal compared to the time and effort saved by handing off the chore to a professional. If it turns out that the task is made more complicated by a clogged downspout or a pest infestation, already having a professional on-site to deal with it will be a major relief. Searching for “clean gutters near me” or “rain gutters cleaning near me” can return results for some of the best gutter cleaning companies in your area.

~By Evelyn Auer

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