How often should you clean your gutters? We get that question all the time. In fact, we hear that very question so often we thought it best to write about it.
I think the reason why consumers are confused how often to clean their gutters is due to debris shedding off trees multiple times a year. Because of this, gutter cleaning should be done at least a few times a year in the spring and fall to account for the timing of debris drops and weather circumstances.
Not cleaning your gutters is a bad thing. I knew a guy who owned a Camaro and he drove it for 100K miles and never got the oil changed. He only drove it for 100K miles because the engine blew up. It wasn’t until a disaster happened that he really understood the need for maintenance.
Your gutters are the same way. If you fail to keep them clean, or protected, they get clogged with all kinds of debris. The debris not only clogs the gutter and downspouts, but debris can work its way underground, and that’s where the real problems begin. It was stated earlier that the water management system is your gutters, downspouts, and drainpipes to the sewer. If any of these three are neglected, water damage is all but certain.
Our recommendation for how many times a home or business owner should have their gutters cleaned is 3 times. A good rhythm is one spring gutter cleaning, an early fall gutter cleaning and finally a late fall or early winter gutter cleaning. That’s three times a year at minimum. Often, weather events create additional scenarios where gutter cleaning is needed.
Most people think that gutter cleaning is a springtime chore. However, debris can build up in gutters at any time of year. In fact, gutter cleaning in different seasons can be important for maintaining the health of your gutters and your home.
Fall is the most popular time of the year to clean gutters. Most tree debris visibly drop into your gutters from late-September through mid-December, so cleaning them makes sense later in autumn. The trick for fall gutter cleaning is all about timing. Each season is different, and the leaf drop never occurs at the exact same time each year, so making sure the weather is warm enough and the leaves are down always proves to be tricky.
To remedy this, many customers get a total of two fall gutter cleans. A clean in October and then a final late-November or early-December clean works best. At The Gutter Boys, we offer discounts for customers who like to get multiple cleans in one season. Sometimes customers are too late, and their gutter cleaning gets pushed into the winter months.
If that happens, they must wait for workable breaks in the weather to get the job done. Some customers prefer this because they want every single leaf down before they get the gutters cleaned. In the end, it boils down to a mix of weather, debris drop, and preference.
Spring is also a very popular time for gutter cleaning, but for different reasons. While the amount of debris during the spring months is considerably less than Autumn, seasonal rainfall is typically much greater.
Even the smallest obstruction causes a clog in the downspouts, like a few leaves, a ball or bird nest, so overflowing gutters during the spring months get attention quick. Many companies just clean the gutters but fail to address the downspouts with a flush. This is pointless because clean downspouts are how the rainwater is managed away from the home.
Water goes into the gutters, travels through the downspouts and is routed into the storm sewer or on splash blocks. If any part of the three-part process mentioned above is neglected, big problems occur. That’s why spring is the second most popular time of the year to get gutters cleaned. There is no better reminder than your very own Niagara Falls spilling over your gutters to spur you to action!
The only stuff that falls during the summer is debris blown down from thunderstorms. Sure, a Willow or over shedding Pine tree can serve as exceptions, but generally there isn’t too much “tree trash” during the summer. Every few summers we have an event that blows the paradigm up though. A powerful thunderstorm with wind and hail gets a log of debris down fast, and after these events, gutters are the first thing that needs addressed.
Last year a storm blew through Ohio, and it was as if the trees in a few suburbs were put into a blender and deposited on roofs and gutters. It was a mess. Gutter cleaning calls came in from all over. A lot of customers will ask us, “how do I know if my gutters need cleaning?”
Well, if they have not been cleaned in a while, that’s a sign. Also, if you visibly see debris in the gutters or water overflows every time it rains, those are two telltale signs it’s time for a good gutter cleaning. Again, the summer is not typical for gutter cleaning, but it happens.
Winter gutter cleaning is our least busy time of year, and by a long shot. It makes sense because the weather is usually too cold and snowy to complete gutter cleans. It’s not for a lack of effort either, as we tried heat guns and all sorts of remedies to get our gutter cleaners working during the winter. It’s just simply not safe or effective.
During winter, we simply must wait for workable breaks in the weather that allow our crews to clean. And one warm day will not usually do the trick, as you need three or four warm days to melt snow and thaw the ice in gutters. Most people understand that a frozen thanksgiving turkey needs a few days to thaw, well, so do gutters during the winter months.
As I said earlier, some customers want to push their gutter cleaning into the winter to make sure every single, solitary leaf is down, but many customers are just too late in scheduling. Either way, The Gutter Boys clean gutters year-round, but again, just need to make sure the conditions are safe and effective for gutter cleaning.
One telltale sign is if you see leaves or other debris spilling over the edges of the gutters. Another is if you notice water pooling around the base of your home after a rainstorm. If you see either of these signs, it's time to clean out your gutters.
Having a working relationship with a responsive and service minded company like The Gutter Boys is ideal. Sometimes, time is of the essence. We get calls from panicking homeowners that water is overflowing into their home and getting the problem resolved is all they care about.
Responsiveness is key in this industry. We accommodate emergencies or regularly planned maintenance. The 3 gutter cleans model is ideal for homeowners who want their gutters cleaned regularly and have decided gutter protection is not for them. Ultimately, our stance is that gutter protection is best, but the right product must be used or more work will be created. Click here for more information on our Nation’s Best Gutter Guards.
To get downspout flushing, or not get downspout flushing with gutter cleaning…that was the question posed by William Shakespeare. No, not really! Nevertheless, we do get asked this very question thousands of times a year, and the answer is always the same. Yes. When you are having your gutters cleaned, you should always have the downspouts flushed thoroughly. To me (Ken Wilson with The Gutter Boys), getting your gutters cleaned, but leaving the downspouts unchecked simply doesn’t make sense.
Gutters and Downspouts need to be cleaned and flushed at least 2x a year (spring and fall)
Some companies do not emphasize the importance of downspout flushing. Sure, saving a couple of bucks for a bare-bones clean seems nice, but leaving the downspouts packed with debris surely will lead to much larger issues down the road. We have heard of companies “reaming” or “snaking” the downspouts, but this isn’t a definitive way to know whether the downspout is clear or not. The best, and by that I mean the worst, story I have heard is a company that trained their workers to knock on the downspouts to see if they are full. That’s pretty pathetic. Again, the only way to know with certainty that the downspouts are free flowing is to use water. There is no shortcut to doing this properly.
I will always remember the client in Westlake, OH who was hesitant about having us come clean their gutters and downspouts. They admitted on the phone that they couldn’t see any debris in the gutters from their vantage point. If it wasn’t for mini Niagara Falls occurring several places around their home, they wouldn’t have even called. Our crews got to the home and the gutters were indeed spotless, but we still checked each and every downspout just to be sure. Guess what we found? 11 out of the 12 downspouts around the home were packed full of decaying debris. The customer was happy to have 12 free-flowing downspouts rather than Niagara Falls, and we were happy one more customer realized the importance of regular gutter cleaning and downspout flushing.
The Gutter Boys base our pricing on the quality of the service and products we provide, not the vulnerability of the customer!