Your gutters are essential to your home’s health. Clogged or sagging gutters can lead to roof leaks, flooded basements, even problems with your foundation…  and that’s just to name a few. During the autumn season it is important for homeowners to keep up with the falling leaves to avoid damage to your home.

What can a couple leaves do?

Depending on the shape of your roof, the condition of your gutters and the trees around your home, it may not take many leaves to cause a blockage. When your gutters or downspouts become blocked, that’s when the trouble begins. A blockage in your gutter or downspouts can cause water to buildup and leak over the sides of your gutter, or that water can freeze in colder temperatures.

Ideally, water should drain at least five feet from your home, otherwise the soil can become saturated with water and seep into your basement through cracks or seep into the siding and wood on the exterior of your house. When water can’t drain, it is much more likely to come into your home.

Some of the problems blocked gutters and downspouts can cause are:

  • Ice dams
  • Basement flooding
  • Water damage to your home and foundation
  • Leaks
  • Stained siding
  • Rotting fascia boards
  • Nests for pests
  • Mold
  • Landscape damage

Most of these problems can require expensive repairs, some costly enough to warrant a claim on your homeowners insurance. Ensuring your gutters are properly cleaned each year can go a long way in helping prevent some of these issues.

How often should you clean your gutters?

To keep up with the buildup in your gutters, you should have them cleaned at least twice per year. Depending on where you live, how close trees are to your home and the types of trees on your property, it can vary. Twice annually is a good rule of thumb for homeowners, and cleanings should be performed in the fall and the spring.

Homeowners in climates with an autumn where trees lose their leaves may want to consider getting their gutters cleaned just before the fall season begins and once again after all the leaves have fallen. The first will help prevent clogging during autumn and the second will help remove the debris left behind once winter arrives.

How can you clean gutters?

Depending on your handiness (and if you’re not afraid of heights!), cleaning your gutters is something  homeowners can do themselves, hopefully with caution. There are many instructional articles and YouTube videos which detail different techniques for keeping your gutters clean.

If scooping rotted leaf goop out of your gutters isn’t your thing, look for a professional gutter cleaner in your area.  The cost may be worth it to avoid getting up on a ladder. If you do choose to hire someone to clean your gutters for you, ensure they are licensed and check on their insurance. You’ll want to make sure they have worker’s compensation and liability insurance, so on the off-chance they were to fall while cleaning your gutters, they wouldn’t go after your homeowners insurance liability coverage. Since they’ll be working on your property, you’ll be liable.

The leaves sure are pretty before they fall, but they can leave you with costly damages. Enjoy autumn and prepare for winter by getting your gutters cleaned.