Ask the Inspector: Cleaning Out Gutters

Question: How often should I clean out my gutters?

Answer: Gutters should be kept free of leaves, twigs, dirt and shingle gravel at all times so water can drain freely to the downspouts. How often you have to clean the gutters will depend on nearby trees, and the time of year. Don’t forget landscape vegetation like vines and ivy which can quickly block water flow in gutters. Some gutters may only need attention a couple of times a year while others require cleaning more often.

The purpose of gutters, downspouts and splashguards is to direct water away from the exterior of the home in a controlled manner. This prevents damage to walls, foundations and landscape materials. All parts of this system should be maintained in good condition to protect the exterior of the home. That means checking for damage or leaks along the gutters. Leaks are most common at seams, elbows and corners.

Inspecting and cleaning gutters will probably require the use of a ladder. As a general rule, an extension ladder should always extend at least three feet above whatever the top of the ladder is braced against (usually the roof of the house). The bottom of the ladder should be moved one foot away from the structure for every four feet of vertical height necessary. It is important to read the manufacturer’s directions prior to use for other ladder safety information. Inspect the ladder itself prior to use to ensure it is in good condition before climbing. Never climb a ladder if health and safety concerns are an issue.

Gutters, downspouts and splash guards are just a few of the hundreds components of a home inspected by At Ease Building Inspections. A home inspection gives you information on the condition of all major home systems to help you plan for future maintenance and care. Call us today for more answers to your questions.