You know you have gutters on your house and you know you have to clean them every once in a while. What you shouldn’t do is leave them until they’re already clogged up before you clear them out. It’s important to make sure all that debris is gone before winter arrives. Here’s why you should make sure those gutters get cleaned out every fall, no matter where you live.

Leaves Collecting in Your Gutters

The first signs of fall are unmistakable—the air gets a little crisp and the leaves on the trees begin to change color. It’s a gorgeous sight, but it’s also a sign of a whole lot of work ahead. After all, those leaves will soon fall off those trees and many of them will end up in your gutters.

While it’s still dry out, the leaves won’t cause much of a problem. However, as soon as you get your first heavy rain storm, the problems will start to pop up. If your gutters are filled with leaves, the rain can’t drain out properly. When this happens, your gutters will overflow and the water could cause water damage to walls, soffits, fascia, siding, basements, and even your foundation.

If water does back up in your gutters, the debris and pooling water can start to eat away at the gutter materials, which can cause holes and leaks. Once you have holes, it might not be a simple fix—you could end up having to replace your gutters entirely.

On-going Maintenance for Healthy Gutters

As you may have guessed, gutters are not cheap to replace. This is why regular gutter maintenance is so important. A small investment of time and money now will save you a ton in the future.

How often you clean your gutters depends largely on where you live. If you live in an area without any trees around, you can probably get away with cleaning your gutters just once a year, since they aren’t filling up with leaves and other debris as quickly. Of course, if there is a tree close to your house that does lose its leaves, you might have to clean them more often.

Gutters Clogged With Leaves

If you live in a place surrounded by plenty of lush, green trees, you’re going to need to clean your gutters a whole lot more often than those who live in desert climates. Most leafy trees lose leaves in the fall, which makes a fall cleaning essential. The type of trees you have nearby also makes a difference—if you have trees like pine or any tree with needles, you might need to clean them 3 or 4 times a year. If you have a tree with falling blossoms, you might need an extra cleaning in spring.

Winter is Coming

The risk of clogged gutters doesn’t end once the leaves have fallen off the trees. If you don’t clear them out before winter, all that debris and water sitting in your gutters can freeze when the temperature drops. When it’s frozen, any water from melting snow has nowhere to go, and can seep through your roof, causing water damage.

When the water and debris freezes, it also gets heavier, which could cause the gutters to sag. The extra weight can also cause the hardware that secures the gutters to the house to pull away from the house, or even come loose completely. In this scenario, your gutters could completely fall down, which would mean you will need to replace them or at least reinstall them.

If you want to ensure your gutters last a long time, keep up with a regular maintenance schedule. Fall is the perfect time to clean them, no matter where you live. So make sure you add gutter cleaning to your fall to-do list!

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