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When Is it Time to Clean Your Gutters

How to care for your gutters

As a homeowner, it may sometimes feel like your work is never done. But between that noise the AC is making and the living document that is your honey-do list, it can be easy to forget how important your gutters are to the health and life of your home. But these, too, require a bit of elbow grease from time to time -- after all, they're not just there for decoration.

Your gutter system serves the vital purpose of routing rainwater from the roof away from your home, extending the life of doors and windows, preventing stains to your siding, and controlling the water running off into your yard. Most importantly, your gutters protect your yard and foundations against settling and soil erosion.

But given the nature of the task, your gutters have to put up with a lot of abuse. As they channel water away, they also collect debris, which can lead to clogs and other issues. Whether it's an ice dam or a collection of pine needles and other detritus, a backup can cause more than just a spot of overflow when the weight of blocked water begins to add up -- it can pull your gutters entirely away from your home.

Protecting the Gutters that Protect Your Home

Most gutter experts recommend that you clean your gutters quarterly, but depending on your geography and the weather, as well as the particular flora and fauna surrounding your house, your gutters may need more or less attention. The beginning of spring and fall tend to be popular times for this, but the thing to remember is what it is around your property that will clog your gutters, whether it is fallen leaves or ice, and making sure that you start the rainy or snowy season with your gutters in good shape.

If you're the do-it-yourself type, then you will need at least a 20 foot ladder for a single story home, and a hose that can reach all points of the roof. You will also need a bucket and small shovel for soggy debris removal, a long broom to clear the roof of any debris and a short broom to sweep the gutters. A small leaf blower can also be a big help if you have an extension cord that will reach and exercise enough care.

Don't forget to wear a pair of gloves -- it is a dirty and frequently thankless job. And while it's not terribly dangerous, every care should be taken against falling off the ladder or swinging your brand-new leaf blower into a window.

How to Prevent Future Issues

Be sure to monitor the quality of your gutters. Easy things to look for and notice would be the deterioration of the gutter due to the gutter bending, suffering from corrosion, or any signs of structural damage. If there ever seems to be any leaks, especially inside of the house, this is a red flag to check the gutters. There could potentially be a structural issue that is creating this leak. In addition, gutters can be clogged from debris and leaves, which can be a fire hazard as well as lessen their use. It is important to annually have them cleaned for this reason. If any of these problems are not able to maintenanced by yourself, be sure to call a professional, like Aerotech, to assist with a repair.

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