Regular gutter cleaning is an excellent home maintenance approach that protects your home from water damage. Most problems gutters are prone to can be prevented. In addition to regular cleanings, being aware of the actionable steps you can take is the best way to prevent gutters from clogging.
Timing is Everything
Knowing when to clean the gutter system is just as important as how many times a year you clean the gutters. Factors such as the number of trees on your property, the kinds of trees, and where you live will determine when is the most effective time for you to maintain your gutter system. If you have several fruit trees growing near the house, after the blossoms have fallen in the spring is a good time to gutter clean. If the majority of the trees are deciduous, the best time to clean the gutters is in the fall when the leaves have finished dropping. But if you have a lot of trees on your property and you live near a busy highway, you might have to clean the gutters in the spring and summer, then again in autumn to ensure the gutter system keeps working through the winter.
Reduce the Chance of Debris Buildup
Even when you clean the gutters regularly two or three times a year, keeping on eye on them between gutter cleanings will also prevent gutters from clogging. Inspect the inside of the troughs after active weather such as heavy rains and windstorms. Pay special attention to areas around gutter outlets and seams where twigs, leaves, etc. can become snagged.
Clean the Downspouts Once a Month
Clogs often form at the top of the downspouts where they are attached to the gutter system. But particularly if the gutters are older than ten years, debris can become snagged on the edges of where two pieces of pipe are joined together, forming clogs inside the downpipes. Inspect the downspouts at least once a month to ensure they are free of blockages. Check the gutter outlet for a clump of leaves and clear them away.
To check the downspouts for any debris buildup in the middle of the downpipes, insert a garden hose at the top of the downspout. Watch how the water exits the system – flowing is normal but a trickle is most likely a sign that there’s a clog. Use a drain snake or auger to remove the blockage.
Prune back Trees
Tall trees with limbs hanging over the roof will drop leaves, twigs, pine cones, and other bits and pieces that will eventually end up in the gutters. Prune trees back to reduce the amount of materials that might collect on the roof, in valleys, or around flashings, chimneys, skylights, and dormer winders.
Know When to Hire a Pro
Maintaining the gutters will definitely prevent them from clogging. If you’re a do-it-yourselfer, when something needs repairing you take action. But if repairs aren’t done right the first time blockages can form that lead to problems such as overflowing, leaks, and standing water. When the damage is extensive, more than one gutter trough needs replacing, or you’ll get around to it soon, hire a professional gutter contractor who will get the job done safely and in a timely manner.