Fall Cleanup - Leaves in GutterOne of the most important yet least loved home maintenance tasks is cleaning the gutters.  Clogged or damaged gutters can lead to water issues at the roof line as well as around the foundation, and gutters left unattended for too long can even pull off of the house completely causing further damage and possible injury.  Even so-called maintenance free systems like gutter covers require annual attention, so here is a quick primer on the basics of gutter cleaning:

  • Who – you can choose to clean your gutters yourself but if you do so make sure you have the right equipment including a sturdy ladder that can reach all of the gutters, gloves, a hose and a spotter.  If you are the least bit uncomfortabl with heights then this is the perfect task to outsource.  Just make sure the vendor you use is insured or you might get stuck with the bill if something goes wrong.
  • What – Whoever does the work, they should be cleaning all of the gutter as well as the downspouts.  They should run water down the downspouts to make sure it drains properly and should check any ground drains that the downspouts tie into.  Failure to do so can result in a very soggy basement. While cleaning they should also check fasteners and connectors to make sure the gutters are structurally sound.
  • When – gutters should be inspected and/or cleaned at least once a year after the bulk of the leaves have fallen.  In most cases that should be sufficient, but in heavily wooded areas or areas where the trees shed significant debris in the spring multiple cleanings may be needed.  Our customers typically have their gutters done 2-3 times a years.
  • Where – Why, on your house of course!
Of course the number one consideration when tending to your gutters is your safety.  Falls from ladders account for thousands of hospital visits and even deaths each year so use caution and common sense!