The purpose of having gutters is to divert the rainwater from your roof away from your house. If the gutters are full of debris or the down-spouts are clogged the gutters do not function properly and the water from your roof may go under your house, potentially compromising your foundation or flooding your basement. Clogged gutters can also lead to water damage to your wood trim and siding. The idea is that spending a little money on preventative maintenance will avert expensive repairs.
This is entirely dependent on the trees surrounding your house, how much debris they drop and at what time of the year. Most people can get by with two or even one cleaning per year. Some people may need their gutters cleaned less often, however, we recommend having someone up on your roof occasionally as a kind of check-up.
Strategically, the best times to have your gutters cleaned are late fall (after most of the leaves have fallen) and late spring/early summer just after the pollen and seedlings drop from the trees. However, if you are having gutter issues it is best to have them cleaned as soon as possible, as it could save you a lot of headaches and money in water damage to your home in the long run.
Generally I clean the gutters first by hand and then remove the last remnants with a leaf blower. Essentially my goal is to clean your gutters thoroughly with a minimum of mess in the minimum amount of time, thereby simultaneously making you happy and allowing me to keep my prices reasonable.
Gutter cleaning is an inherently messy proposition. It is impossible to clean gutters completely mess free. I do my best to be as neat as possible and will make every reasonable effort to clean up after I finish, leaving your home and yard in the same condition as I found it or better.
Actually it’s easy to tell when a down-spout is clogged, and it can generally be fixed by simply pulling a plug of debris out from the top or snaking the elbow just below where the down-spout connects with the gutter. After clearing the down-spout, I ensure it is clean by blowing down it with my leaf blower. If I'm still uncertain that it is clear I will drop a coin or other small object to see if it reaches the bottom.
Over time, gutter nails tend to work themselves out of the fascia board (the wood between the gutter and the house). As the gutters become loose they pull away from the house and water from the roof may fall behind the gutters instead of into them. In extreme cases, a loose gutter can actually fall from the weight of rainwater or snow and ice. It’s important to periodically have the gutter nails tightened in order to prevent these problems.
It is still a good idea to have the gutters cleaned once every year, as debris can still collect underneath them. Also it’s not a bad idea to have someone on your roof to spot possible problems. I clean gutters with screens by lifting out one end of the screen, blowing all the debris to that end with my leaf blower and removing it there. I then replace the screen on the end where I removed it.
This is most likely a symptom of a loose gutter, in which case it is easily fixed by tightening the gutter nails – included in the basic service. Another possibility is that your down-spout is clogged and the back of the gutter is one place the water can escape. Having the gutters and down-spouts cleaned easily solves this. In some special cases (specifically if you have a rotten fascia board or the first shingle course is not overhanging the gutter enough), the problem is not a loose gutter, so tightening will not solve it.
At best, gutter protection systems, including screens, help to reduce the maintenance but do not eliminate it.