How Often To Clean Rain Gutters
Keeping your gutter system clean is critical in order for it to work properly. If debris builds up in the runs, proper water flow may be blocked. Standing water can cause serious problems as it fills and overflows along the gutter edges.
This may prompt you to wonder how often you need to clean the gutters on your home. You may also wonder how to clean them out with a minimal amount of fuss. Let’s take a closer look at both.
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Why Is Cleaning Gutters So Important?
To begin with, we should indicate how important cleaning gutters out really is. During the majority of the year, debris from trees or materials from your roof will accumulate in the bottom of gutter channels. This material can sit in the gutter, even if you have proper drainage throughout the entire system.
This buildup can cause water to pool in the runs which will overflow the lip of your gutters. During the winter, this water can freeze, creating ice dams. Water and ice can damage the gutter walls as well as the roof tiles or walls of your home.
This damage will require repairs that can cost you a lot of money. It will also lower the value of your property with leaky roofs being considered a top “deal-breaker” with many buyers. That is due to the amount of work that will need to be done for repairs to the gutters, roof, and walls/ceilings that are damaged.
How Often Should Your Gutters Be Cleaned
There are many factors that will determine how often cleaning should be done, but it should be something that you do at least twice a year. Most homeowners will clean out the entire gutter system in the spring. This removes roof debris and late falling leaves that have accumulated during the winter.
Spring cleaning addresses tile materials that may have been broken down with winter storms. It also prepares the gutter system for upcoming rains during the spring.
The next gutter cleaning is usually done during the fall. Rains during the year since your spring cleaning will have created debris build-up. It also helps to remove leaves that fall from your trees as fall progresses.
This cleaning is important, as clogged gutter runs will encourage ice to sit in your gutters during the winter. As the snow melts on the roof, the water will continue to add new layers of ice, until an ice dam forms in the gutter. This ice will cause the gutters to expand or crack and will force its way between the gutters/walls or under tiles sitting on roof panels.
Consider your environment
There are other considerations that may cause you to clean your gutters more often. To begin with, vegetation such as trees may cause you to clear out debris more often. Trees that flower or shed leaves throughout the year may require you to clean your gutters more often.
Weather is another consideration. Hail storms can defoliate trees in a matter of minutes, and break down your roofing tiles. Larger hail can also damage the gutters themselves.
Areas that experience heavy rains during the year may also require more frequent cleaning. Heavy precipitation will require that your gutters work overtime, so clogs can form more frequently.
Areas that experience heavy snow during the winter can cause ice buildup in the gutters. Extra cleaning during the winter will help to prevent late falling leaves from accumulating in the gutter channels. Ice dams will need to be removed once they form as well.
If you live in an urban area, or an arid region, you may be able to get away with cleaning out your gutters once a year. It will depend upon the amount of foliage and wind your property experiences.
Consider the age of your home’s gutters and roof
Building materials will break down as they age. Roof tiles will degrade with exposure to the sun, rain, snow, as well as wind. Your gutters will also begin to break down along seams and can corrode or rust with age.
These problems will generate more debris that will collect in the gutters. Build-up will also exploit damaged gutters, causing leaks and further breakdown. You should consider extra cleanouts during the year if your gutters or roof reach 10-years in age.
How Often To Clean Gutters With Gutter Guards
Maybe you took the time to install gutter guards on all your rain gutters. If so, well done! You’ve saved yourself a lot of work. But the fact is, you still need to take time to clean them out every so often. How often should you clean gutters with gutter guards?
According to AngiesList.com, “While covers can prevent debris from filling up your gutters, seeds and smaller particles can make their way through the mesh or guard. Experts say you should plan to clean covered or hooded gutters at least once every two years, and more often if trees are near your roof.”
I’ve installed gutter guards on all of my rain gutters, both on my house and on my shop building, and I’m happy knowing that I only need to climb up and clean them out ever couple of years or so.
Tips For Cleaning Out Your Rain Gutters
Now that you have an idea of how often to clean your gutters, you should now consider how you will go about doing it. If you are unable to do it yourself, a professional service can be called upon to perform this necessary maintenance. Many homeowners look to do this on their own, however, in order to save money.
Clean gutters by hand
One of the easiest ways to clean out your gutters is to remove debris by hand. This will require you to use a ladder to access the runs unless you have safe access from a window on the upper level of your home. Make sure that you are using your ladder safely and take the time to note overhead power lines or other potential hazards as you work.
A pair of gloves will go a long way towards protecting your hands as you work. They will offer protection as you grab ahold of debris. You can also use a hand-held garden trowel as well as a screwdriver to help pry compacted leaves and gravel.
Use air tools
Another option would be to employ a leaf blower or shop vac to clean out your gutters. A leaf blower may be hampered by wet debris, however, so they are best used during dry spells in the summer months. Wet and dry shop vacs will suck up leaves and are better to use if you have damp debris on the bottom of your gutter’s channels.
It will be important to have a secure platform to work from with these devices, so you should get another person to help keep your ladder secure as you work. You will also need to consider purchasing extensions for a shop vac as it will be difficult to operate it from a ladder and these extensions may allow you to work from the ground.
Homeowners will also use a hose or washer to remove debris. You will need to include a nozzle that will help to generate enough pressure to force the water under build-up that is stuck to the bottom of your gutter channels. There are wands and extensions that are designed to allow you to work from the ground and might be something to consider buying.