Clogged gutters and downspouts can cause a host of problems around your home. Gutters and downspouts that are clogged with debris won’t be able to properly drain during a rainfall, which can lead to water getting inside your home, either through the roof or around the foundation. And during the winter, clogged gutters can contribute to the formation of ice dams, which can damage your roof. The best way to protect yourself from these problems is to keep your gutters and downspouts free of clogs this fall.
Trim your trees
One of the best ways to keep your gutters and downspouts free of clogs is to trim back trees that are near your home. Trees and even large shrubs that overhang your gutters or are near to them will drop debris, including leaves, acorns and small twigs and branches. Keeping the trees and shrubs trimmed back so they don’t hang over your gutters will help keep debris out of your gutters and prevent your gutters and downspouts from becoming clogged, especially in the fall when leaves are dropping.
Clean your gutters
Another good way to keep your gutters and downspouts free of clogs in the fall is to clean them regularly. The longer you allow debris to build up in your gutters, the harder it is to remove. Once the tree debris gets wet and mixes with dirt, it becomes like a paste that will adhere to your gutters and downspouts and make it difficult for water to pass through. During the fall when leaves are falling from the trees, it’s a good idea to clean your gutters at least once a month; however, more often is preferable. You might want to think about cleaning your gutters every couple of weeks or even every week, depending on how much of a tree canopy you have. Cleaning should consist of removing debris both from your gutters and your downspout opening by hand and then thoroughly rinsing them out with a garden hose.
Install gutter guards
Probably the single best way to keep your gutters and downspouts free of clogs is to cover your gutters with a gutter guard system. These systems involve installing a screen over your gutters. Such systems have openings that are large enough to let rainfall through but small enough to keep out most debris. Such systems are not foolproof, however, and you still will need to inspect your gutters regularly and may even need to clean them occasionally. Gutter guard systems also will not prevent clogs at your downspout opening that form from debris on the ground, so you still need to be on alert for that issue. Gutter guard systems can be expensive, costing hundreds or even thousands of dollars, but they can be worth it to eliminate the need for regular cleaning.
Using some or all of these methods will help keep leaves, sticks and even dead animals from clogging up your gutters and downspouts and increasing the potential for water damage in your home.