It may be an easy chore to forget about, but if you want to avoid expensive damage to your home, you won’t neglect your gutters. The purpose of your gutters is to get stormwater and snow melt away from your home, specifically your foundation, and thwarting that effort can have serious repercussions for your home.
If your gutters are poorly maintained, water can fall around your foundation and enter your basement or crawl space, which can lead to mold and other water damage. In winter, the water can freeze and actually crack your foundation. Higher up, if water gets behind your gutters, it can rot out your fascia boards, which in turn puts your gutters at risk of collapse and also provides an opening for animals and more water to find its way into your roof.
This is why it is critical for you to regularly clean your gutters and repair any sagging or broken hangers as soon as you notice them. If you have been neglecting your gutters, you may need to consider completely replacing your gutters depending on the level of damage.
How often should you clean your gutters?
How often gutters need to be cleaned depends on the climate and surrounding landscape. If you live in the Arizona desert, you may be able to go several years, but for those who live where autumn leaves fall, it's important to clean gutters at least twice a year.
The most important time is in late fall after all or most of the leaves have come down as leaves and twigs cause most clogs in gutters. The other important time to clean your gutters is the spring or early summer as pollen, flower petals and seeds such as maple “helicopters” can build up. Also, most deciduous trees drop debris in the spring, so even those of you living in conifer forests aren’t off the hook. Those who live in heavily wooded areas may find it necessary to clear the gutters three or four times a year.
And it’s not just the horizontal gutters you need to worry about. Always make sure the downspouts are not clogged and that they are carrying water away from the house foundation.