At MHC Gutters we get asked this question a lot: “How often should I clean my gutters?” The general guideline is twice a year – once in the spring at the beginning of the season and then again in the fall when the leaves have fallen. While this is mostly accurate, when and how many times actually depends on a number of factors.
Type of Debris
The type of debris that lands in your gutters will help you determine the time of year they need to be cleared out. If you get a lot of leaves, the best time to clean the gutters would be at the end of autumn. However, if you’re dealing with muddy sludge in the gutter channel that causes plants and grass to grow, it would be more effective to clean the gutters in the spring.
Microclimate, created by factors unique to your property, can impact when and how many times you should clean your gutters. If you live near woods, open fields or an agricultural area, consider how far the wind can carry a variety of materials you probably don’t want in your gutters for long periods of time. In this case, it’s probably best to schedule cleanings at the end of each season (four times a year). On the other hand, if you have a lot of trees growing on your property, especially the ones near your home, consider having the gutters cleaned once when the trees are leafing and again after they dropped (twice a year).
Amount of Rainfall
How much rain a gutter system receives doesn’t just affect the size of the gutters and downspouts. It also stands to reason that more rainfall means more chances of debris collecting in a gutter section. Even when gutters work properly, leaves, twigs, etc. might not dry out quickly. When wet, gunk in a gutter system adds weight, causing additional strain on hangers, fasteners and/or nails. Consider cleaning the gutters every four months (three times a year).
Roof Type and Configuration
Rain can wash granules from an asphalt roof into the gutters. The larger the roof, the more dirt, grime, pine needles, etc. enters a gutter system. When the roof configuration includes a number of peaks and valleys, debris can get trapped. If it works its way into the gutters as a clump, an instant blockage is created. Cleaning the gutters two to three times annually, particularly once in the spring, should reduce the occurrence of debris build-up.