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What You Need to Know About Cleaning Your Gutters

Believe it or not, winter is on its way out!  As you survey your house for traces of the damage it left behind, make sure you pay special attention your gutters.  Falling leaves, trees, snow, and ice can be particularly brutal to this part of your exterior and a little neglect can do a lot of damage.  So find out how to be proactive and prepare your home for spring.

Why do I need to clean my gutters?

Gutters are more of a practical design element in architecture than anything else.  They serve to divert water away from your roof, walls, and even your home’s foundation.  Unfortunately, this controlled flow can easily be disrupted by leaves, sticks, or other natural debris.  Birds, rodents, reptiles, or insects can then capitalize on this by creating nests and further damaging the gutters. 

If water overflows from the gutters, rather than moving through them and away from the very features they’re designed to protect, the ensuing repairs could cost you thousands of dollars.  If the water pools onto parts of your roof, it could potentially leak through to damage the interior; at the very least you’ll need a new roof.  Water can also drip down between your siding and interior walls, requiring repairs to both elements.  Worst of all, if water saturates your foundation, it can cause cracks, shifting, or other deterioration that may jeopardize the integrity of your home. 

How often should I clean them?

Realistically, your gutters should be cleaned at least once a year—maybe more depending on your landscaping.  If you have a lot of overhanging trees or foliage, you’ll want to at least check them more frequently, approximately once a season.   

Since fall tends to be particularly tough on gutters, most experts recommend a cleaning around then.  By this point in the year, if you haven’t already cleared them, you should definitely do so before the spring rains.  Additionally, weather can add unexpected debris and/or damage connections to your downspouts, so you’ll want to check on these areas following any significant storm.

Should I clean them or hire a professional?

While many homeowners are physically capable of doing this task themselves, they often choose not to for safety reasons.  Especially if you want to be thorough, you’ll be maneuvering around your house for hours on a ladder, paying extra attention to the places where your gutters connect and the downspouts.  Apart from being a physically demanding job, it can also be a dangerous one.  Hundreds of thousands of Americans went to the emergency room last year alone for treatment after falling off ladders. 

Generally, it’s also an inexpensive project.  For the average homeowner, it’ll only cost between $100 to $250 each time.  If your home is a little larger, more architecturally complex, or has more than 2 stories, you could spend a little more than that.  However, you’ll end up saving on repairs in the long run.  Call us for a free quote today!

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