When Should You Clean the Gutters?

While it makes perfect sense to clean the gutters in autumn after the leaves fall, do you really need to clean the gutters in the spring when trees don’t even have leaves yet? Over the course of a winter that includes seasonal and below-seasonal temperatures and a mix of weather systems, wind and rain can deposit a variety of debris in the gutters. This suggested schedule is seasonal, specifically targeting the diverse climatic conditions of the Lower Mainland.

Spring Gutter Cleaning

For spring gutter cleaning to be effective, wait until the last week of April or mid-May when pollen, blossoms, seeds and other organic materials have been shed. Check the roof with binoculars: twigs, loose dirt, and pine cones need to be cleared away first before the gutters are cleaned. Since some types of trees drop debris continuously throughout the year, combined with environmental factors, cleaning the gutters in the spring becomes even more important for keeping gutters healthy.

Summer Gutter Inspection

Plan to inspect the gutters and downpipes anytime in August. Make sure gutters and downspouts are properly attached and haven’t been damaged in any way. The type of debris found in the gutters might be an indication other issues affecting its functionality such as drainage problems, an aging roof or inadequate gutter slope. Examples include:

  • wet leaves, twigs, etc. 48 hours after rainfall
  • roofing granules or pieces of shingles
  • plant growth
  • nests (birds, bee, squirrels, wasps)

Fall Gutter Cleaning

Fall gutter cleaning should be done once the leaves have fallen, around the end of October or the first week of November. Remember to clean the roof first. Take the time to clean the gutters thoroughly both inside and out. The same goes for the downspouts. You’re essentially preparing the gutter system for the winter ahead – after cleaning the gutters, fix, repair or replace anything that needs it.

Winter Gutter Inspection

In the first week of January, inspect the exterior of your home. Examine the siding for water stains caused by overflowing gutters. Also look for pooling water underneath the mouth of the downspout. Check the gutter outlet or outlets, if you have more than one downspout, for debris buildup. Make sure there are no missing roofing tiles, gutter sections or loose/broken downspouts.