As a homeowner, your to-do list of home maintenance projects probably feels never-ending. Maintaining your gutters is one of those items that is an easy one to put off, but beware, neglecting your gutters for too long can create problems. Many people want to know, “how often should I clean my gutters?” 

Why You Shouldn’t Skip Cleaning Your Gutters

It can be easier than you think to accidentally skip cleaning your gutters for years in a row. Then suddenly, you’re having issues with your gutters and realize it will take much more than cleaning them to resolve the issue. In some areas after gutters have been clogged for a long time, gutter replacement becomes necessary. Here are some common gutter problems that can happen if you wait too long to clean them. 

Damaged Gutters

Keeping your gutters clean can prevent them from becoming damaged and keep them working for years to come. Clogged gutters that are filled with debris can start to sag when water collects, they can’t drain, and are weighed down. Your gutters could even start pulling away from your home and damage other parts of your home’s exterior. 

Water Leaks

One of the first signs people often notice that signals them to clean their gutters is water leaking from the edge. If there are too many leaves and debris left in the gutters, water can’t flow through and will likely spill out the front. Your downspout can also become clogged and prevent water from flowing properly.

Damaged Roof

Putting off cleaning your gutters for too long could end up causing damage to your roof. If your gutters are clogged up, rainwater will have nowhere to go, causing it to overflow and soak your shingles. This water could leak into your home or cause your shingles to deteriorate faster than usual. This becomes particularly worrisome in the winter when water freezes and creates ice dams which can cause even more roof damage and put you at risk for leaks. 

Damaged Driveway or Yard

By neglecting your gutters, you may also be setting yourself up for a damaged driveway or yard. Poor drainage can cause water to pool in your driveway, which could freeze into ice or start to get moldy. If your gutters are spilling water over onto your yard, you might find the grass becomes unhealthy, or you constantly have a muddy spot that creates big messes. 

Rotting or Molding Leaves

Leaves that are wet and left unattended will eventually start to decompose and rot. If you live in a humid climate like the Midwest, your gutters may be the perfect environment for mold to develop. This can make your gutters look quite unappealing and may lead to health problems if the mold makes its way into your home. Plus cleaning up moldy gutters has health risks of its own. 

How Often Should I Clean My Gutters?

Many professionals recommend cleaning your gutters two times each year, in the fall and spring. The fall season brings falling leaves that get caught in your gutters. It is particularly important to clean your gutters at the end of fall to clear out leaves before winter comes so that water blockages don’t damage your roof. During the spring, Midwest storms blow through, and your gutters will likely be collecting sticks, leaves, and other debris the storm kicks up. Plus there is often the most rainfall in spring, so your gutters will be working their hardest that time of year. 

Tips for Cleaning Your Gutters

When it comes to cleaning your gutters, you can either do it yourself or hire a professional. If you plan to do it yourself, here are a few tips:

  • Only clean your gutters yourself if you are comfortable climbing up and down a ladder or own a sturdy extension ladder.
  • Wear protective clothing, including gloves and eye protection, to keep dirt and debris out of your eyes and avoid damaging the skin on your hands. 
  • Use the buddy system and have a friend or family member help hold the ladder steady and move it as you make your way around the house.
  • Get your materials ready before you get started. You may end up needing a longer garden hose or pressure washer to rinse your gutters clean and make sure there aren’t any missed clogs. Having a plumber’s snake handy may be helpful as well to get clogs out of the downspouts. 
  • Check for leaks as you go and have sealant handy to repair them as you go. 
  • Throw dead leaves and remove debris from your gutters into a bucket or garbage bag as you go to avoid cleaning up another mess when you’re done. 
  • Check that your gutters are securely attached to your roof as you clean too. Make repairs as necessary and avoid grabbing onto the gutters for stability while you clean in case one is loose. 
  • Consider installing gutter guards to prevent build up of debris.
  • Make an assessment of your roof as you are cleaning your gutters as well. This may be the only time you get this view point of your roof and if you see anything concerning, contact a roofing professional to assess the potential issue. 

Notice Roof Issues When Cleaning Your Gutters?

If you spot something suspicious going on with your roof while you are cleaning your gutters, don’t hesitate to call a professional. Manor Roofing offers free evaluations for roof repairs in Mid-Missouri. Schedule a roof inspection today!