Home Repair & Maintenance Ideas and Tips

Gutter Maintenance 101: Why it’s Important and When You Should Do it

If your home has messy gutters, it can be more than just an eye sore. When gutters are clogged with leaves and debris, water can't flow properly, causing issues like:

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  • Foundational damage: If water isn’t flowing through your gutter system, it’s leaking into your walls. This can cause wood rot, erosion, and wall and ceiling problems.
  • Broken gutters: Clogged gutters quickly become very heavy and can break if under too much pressure.
  • Roof damage: When water is absorbed by your roof’s fascia, it buckles and bends, leading to costly repairs.
  • Insect breeding grounds: Pests like mosquitoes and cockroaches are looking for pools of water to lay eggs – sometimes thousands in a short period of time – and create infestations.

Regularly cleaning your gutters can prevent damage and save you thousands in possible repair costs.

So, when’s the right time to clean them? Is it better to use a professional or tackle the job yourself?

Let’s break down a few of these questions and discuss the options.

How often should I clean my gutters?

Here’s the frustrating answer no one wants to hear – it depends!

Some professionals recommend cleaning your gutter twice a year – once in the spring and once in the fall. However, if you live somewhere with a lot of trees or at a high elevation, more frequent cleaning is necessary.

If you live somewhere prone to freezing temperatures, it’s important to get ahead of the winter weather and give your gutters a good cleaning in the fall months. Damage to your roof caused by ice can be expensive to repair.

Also, if you live somewhere that experiences a lot of storms and hurricanes, it’s important to frequently check your gutters for excess debris. They may not need to be cleaned, but you want to make sure blockages aren’t forming.

Is gutter cleaning safe?

Gutter cleaning can be safe if you take the proper precautions, like the ones mentioned below. However, if you have a fear of heights, consider hiring a professional, like the handymen readily available to American Home Shield® members, powered by Porch.

If you want to tackle the project yourself, though, please keep the following in mind:

  • Use a sturdy, high quality ladder
  • Have someone hold the ladder while you climb
  • Inspect the gutters before you start to ensure no animals or insects have nested inside them
  • Wear eye protection and gloves when cleaning

When should I hire a professional?

Hiring someone who can do the job right is always a smart option and can prevent issues, since professionals know which techniques and equipment to use, as well as which precautions to take.

If you think that animals have gotten into your gutters – think chirping or rustling sounds – then it’s time to bring in a professional who can help get them out. Also, if you see water pooling in your yard or driveway, then that’s a sign that your gutters are already leaking.

Finding the right home services professional can be complex and time-consuming. Fortunately, American Home Shield members have direct access to experienced handymen through Porch, at a special discount.

Here’s how it works:

  • When a homeowner schedules a Porch project – like gutter cleaning – the experience is completely handled by Porch -- from booking to scheduling and arranging payment.
  • All Porch Services professionals are background checked and carry the required licensing and insurance applicable to the service and location.
  • When you use Porch, if the job isn’t to your liking, you’re backed by the Porch Satisfaction Promise.

Gutter cleaning is an incredibly important home maintenance job. Done proactively, it can save you time, money and possibly even sanity!

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DIY tips are for informational purposes only. Learn more.