Why is Gutter Cleaning So Important?
Gutters are an integral piece of your home’s well-being. They serve to control the flow of rainwater to protect your roof, walls, foundation and landscape.
But when neglected, experts say, gutters can turn from a necessity to a nightmare. A gutter clogged with leaves, sticks and other debris can cause a leaky roof or water damage to the interior or exterior of your home. Contractors say gunked-up gutters also make nice homes for pests, rodents, mold and honeycombs from bee infestations. “If you let gutter cleaning go by the wayside, it can cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars,” says Jeff Lambert, a supervisor with The Gutter Man in Houston, Texas. “Gutters are a potential bomb above your head full of insects and critters, if you let them stay out of sight, out of mind,” Lambert added.
How often should they be cleaned? It depends largely on where you live and, most importantly, how many trees are in your yard. Bob Vecchio, owner of The House Doctors in Cleveland, Ohio, recommends having gutters maintained in the spring and fall. “I recommend people calling me in the fall when all of their leaves are down or almost down,” Vecchio says. “In the springtime, maple trees get those little helicopters that go everywhere, including into your gutter.”
Vecchio says it’s important to have a professional clean the downspouts as well because a clogged downspout “makes it hard for the rain to go down and that causes them to back up and overflow the gutter, which can cause damage to your home.” You can judge how often to clean your gutters based on how often leaves in your area fall and the types of leaves, Lambert says. “It should be on everyone’s to-do list about every four months, depending on the tree climate,” he says. “In a high-yield environment, leaves fall all year-round. You can’t wait until the last leaf falls.“
GUTTER COVERS REDUCE DEBRIS
Leaf guards significantly decrease the need for gutter maintenance, but they don’t eliminate the need completely, Lambert says. Instead of every four to six months, you may only need to maintenance gutters with covers or screens every one to three years. The frequency of maintenance will depend on the quality of the cover and the type and quantity of trees in the yard, he says. Even if you do have gutter covers, it’s still a good idea to do a visual check each year, says Vince Curcio, owner of The Bizzzy Bee in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Vecchio says a guard will not keep all the debris out, adding: “Up to 15 (percent) to 20 percent can still get in, and you still have to remove the guard. Sometimes you need a professional to do so..."