Gutter Cleaning Myths

Rain gutters can be one of the most overlooked elements of a home’s exterior. To protect your home from water damage, a gutter systems needs to be regularly maintained. But homeowners can be influenced by gutter cleaning myths that impact how well a gutter system works.

I can clean the gutters myself.

While cleaning the rain gutters might seem like a regular home maintenance chore you can easily handle, falling from a ladder is one of the top five accidents that occur while doing chores around the house. Overreaching, affected by heights, and misstepping when ascending or descending are common reasons for falls from a ladder. If heights bother you or cleaning the gutters keeps getting delayed for whatever reason, hire a professional gutter cleaning service to do it for you.

I just have to remove the gunk.

Removing the gunk from the gutters should be just the first step. To thoroughly clean a gutter system:

  • Flush out the downspouts to ensure they are not clogged – water trickling instead of pouring out of the downpipes indicates a blockage
  • Look for mold or mildew growth on siding, soffit, and fascia – it could be a sign of leaks
  • Inspect the gutter troughs for worn seams, gaps between sections, and leaking corners
  • Check for loose, broken, or missing hardware

I only have to clean the gutters once a year.

Some of us might think that gutter cleaning is an annual home maintenance task. But a lot can happen to gutters in a year. The general rule of thumb is to clean them in the spring and then again in the fall and this is a good guideline for many homeowners. In actuality, how many times a year you should clean the gutters need depends on several factors such as:

  • The number and type of trees growing near the roof and on the property
  • Where you live – near a highway, in an agricultural community, etc.
  • Annual rainfall
  • The size of your house

If you are currently only cleaning the gutters once or twice a year, consider the above factors to determine whether or not you should be gutter cleaning more often.

It doesn’t matter when I clean the gutters.

In order for clearing out the gutters to be the most effective, timing is everything. Gutter cleaning twice a year, in the spring and in the fall, should be in sync with nature. For example, if you remove the leaves from the gutter system mid-fall rather than at the end of the season before all the leaves are off the trees, you will have to clean out the gutters again before winter.

In spring, wait until early to mid-season when the trees have dropped their seed pods and blossoms. Cleaning the gutters in early spring will also help keeping the system working through the heavy spring rains that are typical for this time of year.

If I have leaf protection I don’t need to clean the gutters at all.

Leaf protectors are designed to let water in but keep debris out. Features of leaf protection systems depend on the brand or manufacturer – some of larger holes or slots than others. Regardless of the type of leaf protector, debris will enter the gutter system, and eventually buildup enough to form clogs. If you have a leaf protection system, you might not have to clean the gutters as often as you would if you didn’t have one, but the gutters will have to be cleared out some point to keep them functioning. Between gutter cleanings, however, inspect the gutters for any damage or clogs that, if not removed, could cause problems.