The importance of Gutter Cleaning cannot be underestimated. Blocked gutters and downpipes can cause severe flooding and damage to your property. But a dirty gutter is also the ideal breeding ground for all types of creepy crawlies; things like snakes, spiders, cockroaches, mice, rats, and possums can be drawn to an undisturbed water source of a blocked gutter.
It is essential to ensure that your gutters and downpipes are always clear and unblocked to protect your property and your loved ones.
So let’s look at how often you should clean your gutters
How Often Should Gutters Be Cleaned?
The typical recommendation is to have your gutters cleaned at least twice a year. However, in some cases, it may be necessary to have your gutters cleaned more often.
There are a few factors that need to be taken into account when deciding when your gutters need cleaning. Let’s take a look together at what factors might affect your property.
The most significant factor for deciding when to clean your gutters is rainfall; this is logical, as gutters are designed to direct water from your roof in the direction you want it to go.
So, let’s take, for example, Brisbane; when does it most rain? Well, it’s in the summer, from December to February; that’s when the summer storms bring in rain and flooding. So, on average, Brisbane’s wet season has about 800mm of rain. If you multiply that by the square meters of your roof, you can talk about hundreds of thousands of litres that must pass through your gutter in a few months.
Don’t believe it? Let’s do the maths. If you multiply 800mm/sqm by the square meters of your roof space, how many litres would that be? Well, in 2021, the average house size in Brisbane is 242 square meters. So, 242sqm times 800mm equals 193,600 litres of rain!
So, near the end of spring, just before the wet season starts, would be a great time to have your gutters cleaned.
Trees and Foliage
The biggest culprit of blocked gutters is trees. When the leaves start to fall, they can fill the gutters and cause blockages. The worst tree of all are pines; their needles can cause severe blockages as they get tangled with debris.
Tree branches can also fall and block the gutters. If you have trees near your home, they should be trimmed back at least six feet from the roof. If you have overhanging branches, your gutters must be cleaned more often.
So, another critical time to clean your gutters would be in the autumn, once all the leaves have fallen.
One thing that will reduce the number of times you need to clean your gutters per year is installing a gutter guard.
So, what is a gutter guard? It’s a simple idea; it guards your gutters against foreign objects. Leaves, twigs, and other debris can’t enter your gutters, meaning there are multiple advantages:
- Increased water flow.
- A good gutter guard can protect against ice from cracking your gutter and even ice dams in colder areas.
- Stop downpipes from blocking.
But does a gutter guard mean you no longer need to clean your gutters? Sadly, no. Even the best gutter guard in the world can’t achieve that. If anyone ever invents a gutter guard that makes gutter cleaning unneeded, that person will be a millionaire and hated by gutter cleaners.
So, if you have gutter guards, you’ll still need to check your gutters!
If your gutters are not in optimal condition, you’ll need to clean your gutters more often. Why? If your gutters are sagging, they won’t have a correct pitch, causing water to collect. A sagging gutter can also collect debris leading to a blocked gutter.
Guttering that needs some TLC can considerably increase the times your gutters need to be cleaned. So, when you clean your gutters, remember to check everything is working correctly. Although this is something that any gutter cleaner worth their salt will do every time they come to clean your gutters.
Why Gutter Cleaning Is Important
A blocked gutter can cause all types of structural problems. But, you might ask yourself, what damage can a few wet leaves do? Wet leaves won’t do much damage, but water can do tremendous damage! With time, water can erode rock; how do you think your wooden roof will fair against water?
If your downpipes are blocked, that water has to go somewhere. The first to suffer will be your fascia. Water will slowly rot the wood, and once the wooden fascia has taken all the water it can, water will start to enter your roof and walls; this can lead to the main support beams rotting, and your whole roof can start to sag. In addition, water in walls will create mould, which can cause health problems.
The water that doesn’t manage to enter your property will fall to the ground, creating puddles, which slowly drain away. These puddles of water can cause cracks in foundations or erode the ground around your house, leading to subsidence. Neither of which is good news.
Did you know that most home insurance policies won’t cover damage caused by a lack of maintenance? So, because you didn’t clean your gutters, your property could be declared inhabitable, and your home insurance wouldn’t cover it!
Of course, this is the worst-case scenario, the perfect storm of an uncleaned gutter, but it illustrates just how a hand full of wet leaves can cause serious problems.
How To Tell That Your Gutters Need Cleaning
So how do you know that your gutters need cleaning? Well, there are a few tell-tale signs you can look out for, but do you know what they are? Let’s look at how you can see if your gutters need cleaning:
- When there is heavy rainfall, look at the downpipe; a considerable amount of water should flow.
- When it’s raining, check whether or not you see the gutters overflowing.
If the gutter is overflowing, you’ll see streaks of dirt on your walls and puddles of water around your property. But please note that during extreme rainfalls, it’s normal for your gutters to overflow.
- Damaged gutters and downpipes. An excess of debris can crack your gutters or make them sag.
- Plants growing from your gutters or increased animal activity, like nesting birds.
If you see any of these signs, please clean your gutters ASAP!
Is Gutter Cleaning a Task for DIYers?
It depends on your property and your experience of working up a ladder. It can be a simple task, but it can be filled with dangers if you’re not experienced at working heights.
Before you think about climbing up a ladder, contact a reputable gutter cleaning service. It might not be worth doing it yourself.
Gutter Cleaning Conclusion
How Often Should Gutters Be Cleaned? Most properties need their gutters cleaned twice a year, before the end of spring and in the autumn. But in some cases, you should clean them more often.
Remember that a gutter-cleaning professional will do the job quickly and efficiently. Plus, they also offer extras like a no-mess guarantee, roof inspections, and before and after photos. So talk to an expert, get a free quote and keep your gutters in tiptop condition; it’s worth the hassle.