Owning a home is rewarding, and at times, overwhelming. If you’re coming into homeownership from a rental situation, it might seem like there is always maintenance somewhere within your home that needs your attention.
While most homeowners typically have an ongoing to-do list, the good news is, most of these tasks are not difficult, and in many cases, there are professionals available to take care of them for you. Proper gutter maintenance is a significant part of keeping your home in working order. If you’ve ever wondered how often to clean your gutters, we can assure you, you’re not alone.
The Purpose of Gutters
Gutters are essential to the structural soundness of your home. The purpose behind gutters is to route storm and rainwater off of your roof and away from the foundation of your home.
Without gutters in place, the water that runs off your roof from rainstorms and melting snow can easily build up around the foundation of your home. Over time, this moisture can sink into the foundation, causing water damage and a possible overhaul of your foundation.
Fixing water damage caused by a lack of gutters to your foundation is much more costly than installing and keeping your gutters clean. Since most of our clients already have gutters installed, many of them ask us: “when should I clean my gutters?”
How Often to Clean Your Gutters
Nobody wants to clean gutters. It’s a simple task, and it can be tedious, though it’s well worth the time and effort to prevent decay and damage to your home’s exterior and, in some cases interior, of your home.
In general, we recommend cleaning your gutters, whether you do it yourself or have it done professionally, twice per year. We typically find ourselves cleaning gutters for repeat clients in the late spring and early winter.
However, a few factors come into play regarding the number of times you should clean your gutters yearly. These include:
Consider the age of your gutters, as well as their general condition. If your gutters are brand new and in perfect working order, you’ll likely have to clean them less than you would older gutters that need replacement. Here are a few ways to tell if it’s time to install new gutters:
- Numerous rust spots, cracks, and holes
- Missing nails and screws that you may find on the ground
- Broken fasteners
- Gutters visibly pulling away from the roof
- Peeling exterior paint
Trees and Foliage
Foliage can be a major thorn in the side of homeowners regarding how often to clean gutters. If you have a lot of trees around your home, chances are you’ll want to clean your gutters more often than twice per year.
Instead, try cleaning once every two to three months, so you can efficiently remove the leaves and debris that could clog up your gutters, especially in the fall! We encourage you to pay close attention in the winter months as well. Pine trees are notorious for blocking up gutters, as they’re constantly shedding needles at what seems like an exponential rate.
Gutter Protection System
Some houses have a gutter protection system, also known as gutter guards or screens, while others do not. Gutter guards do keep gutters cleaner overall, but this does not mean your gutters won’t require routine cleaning.
Gutter guards perform well concerning keeping large pieces of debris and foliage out of your gutter system, but smaller amounts can make their way through. Also, keep in mind that more prominent foliage may sit on top of your gutter guard, causing the gutter to malfunction.
If you have a gutter protection system in place, check on it often so you don’t have any surprises pop up. It would be best if you cleaned gutters with guards or screens at least twice per year, but they may only require annual cleaning depending on other factors.
Critters like squirrels and chipmunks have plugged up gutters in the same fashion as trees and foliage. The only difference is that they’ll safely place acorns and other food items instead of leaves.
Birds drop sticks and various nest-making materials in gutters, and on occasion, our feathered friends will build their nests right inside them! If you live somewhere where the wildlife is plentiful, you will need to check your gutters often and have them cleaned at least twice each year.
Seasonal Weather Cycles
Weather is a significant contributor to how often you’ll have to clean your gutters. From areas with heavy rainfall to places that see an abundance of snow and ice, it’s crucial to stay on top of your gutter maintenance in these climates.
Ice is skilled at rendering gutters utterly useless unless removed right away, while copious amounts of rainfall can be just as detrimental. To ensure things keep running smoothly and consistently direct water away from your home, you’ll want to have an excellent working knowledge of how often your gutters need cleaning.
The Consequences of Ignoring Routine Gutter Cleaning
Though it can be tempting, ignoring the task of routine gutter cleaning can come with substantial consequences. Gutter maintenance can be easy to forget and ignore until you’re unexpectedly faced with moisture inside your home, cracked or peeling paint, and foundation issues.
Costly damage repair and the possible complete replacement of your gutters are imminent if you ignore your gutters. However, knowing the weight of the consequences of gutter neglect often helps homeowners remember to check their gutters and, if necessary, schedule a professional cleaning.
Water under your driveway is just as detrimental as water underneath your crawlspace or foundation. As the water builds, shifting will undoubtedly occur, causing possible damage to your walkways, vehicles and presenting a tripping hazard.
Clogged gutters overflow, and since that water needs somewhere to go, it will end up running down the side of your home and into your basement. An effective gutter system is one of the absolute best ways to avoid basement flooding, and to be effective, they must be clean.
Chances are, you’ve either spent a lot of time or paid a lot of money to keep your landscaping looking fantastic. Heavy rain that flows from a clogged gutter can wash away mulch and destroy flowers and shrubs.
Primarily in the summer months, where many locations see a surplus of rain, standing water can become an issue. A virtual breeding ground for mosquitoes, standing water from improper gutter drainage can also attract rodents and other mosquito-eating animals.
Perhaps one of the biggest reasons to keep your gutters spic and span, foundation issues are prominent when gutter maintenance is lacking. It doesn’t matter if you have a traditional basement, a crawlspace, or if your home sits on a concrete slab; water will cause considerable damage.
When the clay, dirt, or sand that sits under and around your foundation becomes too wet, shifting occurs. That shift causes the cracks and buckling that we see in so many homes with mild to severe foundation issues.
General Water Damage
Foundations aside, clogged gutters are known for causing water damage to the interior of your home, and most homeowners have no idea what’s happening until it’s too late. When water regularly runs down the side of your house, it will work its way into siding, window frames, and under flooring.
This consistent presence of water will cause bulging, bowing, and weakness within the siding, windows, and floorboards. If left unattended, this is a hazardous situation.
Algae, Mold, and Moss
Where there is excessive moisture, there are algae, mold, and moss. While mold typically shows up inside the home, where the water damage from malfunctioning gutters has been allowed to accumulate, algae and mold prefer to grow outside, both on your roof and inside the gutter itself.
Not only does this look terrible concerning the exterior aesthetics of your home, but it can cause significant damage to your roof. The shingles on your roof that come in contact with consistently clogged gutters will saturate until it leaks into the insulation, causing issues within your ceiling and walls.
Find Peace of Mind with Regular Gutter Cleanings from Advantage Pro Services
In short, neglecting to clean your gutters can cause many other problems outside and inside your home. To avoid major issues, you’ll want to have your gutters cleaned twice a year, with more frequent cleanings for those that live in very wet or cold climates and locations with plenty of critters, trees, and foliage.
How often you’ll need your gutters cleaned depends on a variety of factors, and if you’ve installed gutter guards, you may only require a thorough cleaning once per year. The effects that come with long-term gutter neglect are significant, so it’s essential to know how often you need your gutters cleaned.
Advantage Pro Services is a home maintenance company serving the Houston, Texas, area for many years. We are happy to offer our past, present, and potential customers the best in pressure washing, gutter cleaning, and gutter repair services.