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How Often Should You Clean Your Gutters?

January 17, 2024
Angela Stringfellow
Read Time
6 minutes

Many homeowners don’t give their gutters much thought or attention unless there’s an obvious problem—but by that point, it may be too late to prevent potentially devastating water damage to your home.

Cleaning out your gutters regularly is necessary to prevent clogs inside your gutters and the subsequent problems clogged gutters can cause.

When it comes to the question how often should you clean out your gutters, the general rule of thumb is to clean your gutters twice per year.

But there are a range of different factors that determine gutter cleaning frequency.

In this article, we’ll discuss how often you should clean out your gutters in greater detail and review contributing factors such as where you live and how many trees and other types of vegetation are around your home.

In this article:

Why You Need to Clean Out Your Gutters

Cleaning out your gutters is probably not a job you look forward to. Who wants to get up on a ladder, breathe in dust, and pull out wet leaves and gunk?

There’s also the danger of getting up on a ladder. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, about 500,000 people are treated for ladder-related injuries every year.

While you can clean out your gutters without a ladder, your clothes can get dirty and possibly even ruined,  and some of the debris is likely to fall onto your lawn or patio in the process.

Hiring a professional is a safer, time-saving option, but it can certainly add to your costs, year over year. Just one professional cleaning can cost you about $162 on average, and even more for large, multi-story homes.

With most gutters, unfortunately, if you don’t clean them out, you could be setting yourself up for higher costs down the road. Avoiding the task for too long may result in shingle damage, roof leaks, water damage in the interior of your home, mold growth, and more.

The bottom line is this: regular gutter cleaning is critical to the condition and long-term value of your home.

How Often Should I Clean Out My Gutters?

The general recommendation when it comes to cleaning out your gutters is to do it twice a year—once in the spring and once in the fall.

Winter snow and ice take a toll on your gutters. When spring rolls around, you’re likely to see a buildup of dirt and debris, and possibly even bird and rodent nests.

Cleaning out your gutters when the weather warms up will prepare them to better manage the spring rains and summer storms. This will help ensure that your home does not experience water damage due to the overflow of clogged gutters.

When leaves start to fall, it’s time to add “clean out my gutters” to your to-do list once more. Autumn leaves have a nasty habit of accumulating inside your gutters and can potentially clog them before the winter snow arrives.

Try to find a weekend after the leaves start falling—but before the snow starts flying—to rid your gutters of built-up leaves and debris so they perform effectively throughout the winter months.

The twice-a-year recommendation is a general recommendation only. Sometimes, it’s necessary to clean them more often. Below, we’ll discuss four key questions to consider how often you should clean out your gutters based on where you live, the types of vegetation and trees around your home, and other factors.

4 Questions to Ask to Determine How Often to Clean Out Your Gutters

How often you schedule a gutter cleaning depends on where you live and what type of environment surrounds your home. Ask yourself the following four questions. Your answers may indicate that you need to clean out your gutters three or four times a year rather than just twice.

What Types of Trees Grow Near Your Home?

Take stock of what types of trees are present in your yard and near your property. Some trees won’t bother your gutters too much. Others, however, will drop a lot of leaves and debris into them throughout the year.

Pine trees are especially problematic for gutters. They shed their needles year-round, and many of these can end up inside your gutters. Pinecones also have the tendency to pile up in your gutters over time.

If they’re close to your home, other types of trees may quickly create clogs inside your gutters. Even cottonwoods and maples can create buildup if they’re mature and near your roof.

If you live in a home in the forest or a cabin nestled away inside a trove of trees, check your gutters more often. You may be able to manage a decent amount of buildup with cleaning out your gutters twice a year, but keep an eye out for signs that your gutters may be crying out for more frequent maintenance.

What’s the Weather Like Where You Live?

If you live in an area with frequent storms, heavy snow and ice, and strong winds, your gutters will likely fill up with debris faster than they would in more temperate regions. Ice, in particular, is very good at rendering your gutters utterly useless. Cleaning them out more often will help prevent damage to your home.

If you live in a hot, dry, desert-like climate with fewer tall trees, however, you may be able to get by with cleaning out your gutters just once a year.

What Kind of Roof Do You Have?

Metal roofs have gained popularity recently because of their longevity and eco-sensibility. They also tend to shed leaves and debris more easily. If you have a metal roof, you most likely won’t need to clean out your gutters as often.

If you have a traditional shingle roof, it may be vulnerable to damage if your gutters become clogged, so it’s best to clean them out more often.

What Kind of Gutters Do You Have?

Traditional or standard gutters lack protection against falling debris, animal nests, or other types of material that can create clogs inside them. These will need to be cleaned at least twice a year, if not more often.

However, if you have some form of gutter protection, debris will be less likely to accumulate inside. Consequently, you won’t have to clean out your gutters as often. For example, our gutter guards are an effective and proven solution that allow you to say goodbye to the bi-annual chore of cleaning out your gutters.

Signs It’s Time to Clean Out Your Gutters

It’s easy to get busy and forget all about your gutters. There are plenty of other important things to worry about, after all!

Fortunately, it only takes a few minutes to check the condition of your gutters. Take a walk around your home and look for these signs that it’s time to hire a professional or clean out your gutters yourself:

  • Sagging gutters
  • Stained exteriors
  • Sitting water around the foundation of your home
  • Other signs of leaking on your roof, siding, or yard
  • Plant growth inside the gutters
  • Insects and animals nesting inside the gutters
  • Broken gutters or gutters that have pulled away from the roofing
  • Noticeable debris build-up

Depending on the condition of your gutters, it may be time to replace them.

Final Thoughts

Cleaning out your gutters isn’t a task that most of us look forward to, especially when you need to do it several times each year. By having LeafFilter gutter guards professionally installed, you can say goodbye to cleaning out your gutters for good.

Our award-winning, patented gutter guards not only block leaves from entering your gutters, but they also keep out the smallest debris, such as shingle grit, pollen, and pine needles. And with our transferable lifetime warranty, you can enjoy all the seasons of the year without worrying about clogs inside your gutters and potential water damage to your home.

You don’t have to take our word for it. More than 1.2 million homeowners have trusted LeafFilter gutter guards to protect their homes from water damage, and we’ve earned an Excellent rating on TrustPilot. If you’re curious to learn more and you’d like to ensure our product actually performs, feel free to read about our homeowners’ experiences here.

Call us today at 1-800-290-6106 to learn more about how LeafFilter gutter guards can help protect your home.

Frequently Asked Questions

What can happen if you don’t clean out gutters?

If you don’t clean out your gutters, the debris can create clogs that prevent water from flowing to the downspout. Over time, this can cause roof leaks, basement water damage, mold growth, and foundation issues. If these issues aren’t addressed and your home is damaged, your home insurance may deny your claim.

What is the best time to clean out gutters?

As a general rule, it’s best to clean out your gutters in the late spring and fall (once the leaves have stopped shedding) to rid them of accumulated debris and prevent damage to your home.

What’s the fastest way to clean out gutters?

The fastest and easiest way to clean out your gutters is to hire a professional who will handle the job with the proper tools, techniques, and safety measures. If you can’t afford to hire a recurring gutter cleaning service, choose a method that allows you to clean out your gutters while remaining on the ground. You can use a garden hose attachment, wet/dry vacuum attachment, or leaf-blower attachment to approach the job more safely rather than climbing up an unsteady ladder.

How can I prevent clogs from forming inside my gutters?

We recommend you install gutter protection. Gutter guards shield your gutters from dirt, pollen, shingle grit, and even pine needles, as well as falling leaves and blowing sticks and twigs.