How Often Should You Clean Your Gutters? A Homeowner’s Guide

Gutters aren’t the most exciting part of your home, and you likely probably forget about them most of the time, but if you don’t clean them, you’ll definitely know they’re there. Gutters full of leaves, branches, and other debris cause water to leak inside your home, create ice dams, and wreak havoc on your roof.

So how often should you clean your gutters? The answer to that question depends on several different factors. Read on to learn more about gutter cleaning and when you should do it.

Why Do You Need to Clean Your Gutters?

If you’re a first-time homeowner, you might not have realized that your gutters need to be cleaned. While gutters are meant to funnel rain and other water away from your home, they are also the perfect shape to collect falling debris. From leaves to branches to acorns and other items, your gutters collect it.

If you don’t clean your gutters, you could have serious problems. Season after season, the debris in the gutters will build up until the water stops flowing through them and out through your downspouts. When the water can’t flow out, it will start to pool in the gutters until they overflow.

Decomposing leaves can also create mold, which will grow in your gutters and contaminate the water. These decomposing leaves are also a food source for pests like insects, mice, squirrels, and birds.

How Often Should You Clean Your Gutters?

How often you clean your gutters depends on a number of different factors, including:

  • How many trees are around your house
  • What kind of trees you have
  • Where you live (e.g., weather and elevation)

Most experts agree that you should clean your gutters twice a year. If you have pine trees around your home, you may want to clean them (or at least check them) every 3 months, as the needles shed all year long and there are a lot of them.

If you have trees with large leaves, like maple trees, you definitely need to inspect your gutters after the leaves are shed in the fall. If possible, try to get them cleaned out before winter, especially if you live in an area that sees a lot of snow and ice and extreme temperatures.

Ice is also a worry if you live at higher elevations or in northern states. Keeping your gutters clear so the water can flow is necessary to prevent ice build-up and roof damage.

How to Clean Your Gutters

While cleaning out your gutters isn’t the most fun home chore, it’s relatively easy and doesn’t require much equipment or special skill.

The best way to clean gutters is typically by hand. Wear gloves and scoop out all of the leaves, twigs, and other debris in the gutters. You can use a hose on high pressure to clean out your downspouts, especially if there are clogs of leaves or nests.

Make sure you properly dispose of what you clean out of the gutters. Either compost it or dispose of it with your yard waste. If there are any small mold spots, you can clean them with a bleach and water solution in a spray bottle. Make sure you are safe while up on your ladder and be sure to wear gloves and eye protection as well.

When Was the Last Time You Cleaned Your Gutters?

Now that you know how often you should clean your gutters, try to remember the last time you did it. If it was so long ago you can’t even remember, it’s time to get out the ladder. Grab your gloves, someone to spot you at the bottom of the ladder, and get to work.

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