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Gutter Maintenance Dos & Don'ts

A person cleaning out the gutter with gloves on

The long, hollow devices attached to your roof, gutters help rainwater and debris that fall onto your roof flow into the right places. To make sure the flow of maintenance is also strong, follow these dos and don’ts.  

Dos for Maintaining Gutters 

  1. Clean Gutters 

Clean your gutters regularly with a hose, brush, or gutter scoop to remove leaves, debris, and dirt. Do this every three months to ensure water flows freely through the gutters and away from your home. 

  1.  Inspect for Damage 

Safely get up on your ladder at least twice a year to check your gutters for signs of damage, such as rust, holes, or sagging. Replace or repair damaged sections promptly to prevent leaks. 

  1. Install Gutter Guards 

Consider installing gutter guards to prevent debris from entering your gutters in the first place. These screens will only let water into your gutter system and keep out larger items like leaves, reducing the frequency of cleaning and keeping your gutters functioning optimally for longer. 

  1. Maintain Downspouts 

A downspout is the hollowed metal piece at the end of your gutter that moves water from the gutter down the home and out to the ground, away from the home structure. However, downspouts are only effective if they’re clean inside.

To keep your gutters functioning at their best, take some time to scan and remove any debris from in and around the end of your downspout system. Downspout maintenance prevents water from pooling near your home's foundation, minimizing the risk of foundation damage. 

  1. Create the Proper Pitch  

Your gutter’s pitch, or steepness, is what makes water flow onto and away from your home correctly. The pitch should create a slope where water flows into the high point of the gutter and out of the low point into your downspout system.

If you notice water standing or overflowing, your gutters may need to be re-pitched by taking down the two ends of the system and resetting them to create a proper slope.   

Don’ts for Maintaining Gutters 

  1. Ignore Clogs 

If nothing is coming out of your downspouts, your gutters are likely clogged. When left unattended, clogs can lead to water overflow, which can damage your home's foundation, landscaping, and even your roof. 

  1. Use the Wrong Tools 

Don't use sharp tools or pressure washers to clean your gutters, as they can damage the gutters and make the situation worse. Stick to safer methods—use a ladder and hand tools, like a scoop or hose. 

  1. Use a Leaf Blower  

Contrary to popular belief, leaf blowers can do more harm than good when it comes to cleaning your roof and gutters. If used at too high of a setting, they can cause debris to get stuck where it can’t be cleaned, and the kickback of the machine can create risk for a fall. If you insist on using one, keep it on the lowest setting.  

  1. Hang Things Off Your Gutters 

It may seem tempting to hang holiday decorations off your home’s gutter system, but they add stress and speed up the need for replacement. Think of decorations like debris and keep your gutter free from anything that can weigh down or damage it.  

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  1. Do DIY Repairs If Inexperienced 

Just like with roof repairs, avoid attempting DIY gutter repairs if you lack experience and equipment. Incorrect repairs can worsen the problem and potentially damage your gutters further. When finding a gutter pro, look for a long-standing local business that emphasizes trained employees using the correct equipment. They’ll know what’s best to get your gutters right.  

What Time of Year is Best for Gutter Cleaning? 

The ideal time for gutter cleaning largely depends on your climate and local weather patterns. However, many professionals agree that spring and fall are optimal seasons for gutter cleaning. In spring, you can remove debris that has accumulated over the winter; in the fall, you can prepare your gutters for the heavy rains and falling leaves of the upcoming winter. 

Help Your Home Get Fit for Fall 

Taking care of gutter system maintenance is just one thing you can do to get your home prepped for fall. Giving your landscaping some love at this time of year is important too. Check out our article, “Fall Into a Beautiful Lawn: Your Autumn Landscaping Checklist” to find out how to keep grass, gardens, and trees healthy throughout the cooler months.