gutter-repair-resealing-seams (1)Depending on various factors, such as the amount of trees surrounding your home, you may need to clean your gutters once a year, twice a year, or every three months.

1. Benefits of Cleaning Your Gutters

A gutter that is full of debris cannot fulfill its true purpose. The accumulation of dry leaves and debris will prevent water from flowing down the gutter into the downspout. This means that excess rainwater will pour out of the sides of the gutter and onto the siding of the house and into the landscaping. This can lead to expensive repairs and painting to restore the appearance of your home. Additionally, a clogged gutter can lead to a rusted gutter that will require replacement. The water trapped in the gutter can freeze in winter, forming ice dams that weigh down the gutter and cause damage to the gutter and the roof. All of these issues can be avoided by ensuring that the gutters are cleaned regularly.

2. Contributing Factors

Gutters become clogged because of the fallen leaves and other debris that accumulates on the roof of the house. This is washed into the gutter when it rains. To make matters worse, small animals such as squirrels and birds might decide to nest among the debris and leave their dropping in the gutter. The presence of organic matter and water leads to the formation of mold, which contributes to the further clogging of the gutter as well.

clogged-gutter-mold (1)3. Timing is Everything – Best Time of Year to Clean Your Gutters

As with other home maintenance tasks, the timing of your gutter cleaning can help prolong its life and minimize other damage. The gutters should be cleaned twice a year, at the beginning of fall and at the beginning of spring. If you clean the gutters at the beginning of fall, the leaves will still be dry and easier to remove. Additionally, when the precipitation occurs, the water will flow freely through the gutter and into the downspout ensuring little to no damage to the gutter. Because there is no debris to be washed into the downspout, your gutters won’t get clogged, making it easier to clean out the full system. Cleaning the gutters in early spring will again prepare it for directing the water brought in by the spring rains.

You do not want to be cleaning your gutters in the middle of August. First off, that is the hottest part of the year so you will be miserable performing this chore in extreme heat. It also means you have waited too long to clean and unclog your gutters. For months now, your gutters have been holding up more weight than they should have been. Waiting until the end of summer allows plenty of time for bugs and critters to find some room to settle in. None of these factors is a good thing.

4. Beyond Cleaning – Time to Replace Your Gutters?

Even as you clean the gutters you should examine their condition. If the gutter is coming loose, it can be re-fixed to the sides of the roof. However, if the wear and tear of the accumulated debris and water have caused rust and major damage, you should replace the gutter. Older gutters made of iron are prone to rust and should be replaced with aluminum or other gutters that are rust proof. This will not only make it easier to clean the gutter later on, but enhance the curb appeal of your home.