little pine tree growing in a house gutter

Kendall "aka Renos"

Founder, Lead Instructor of Renos 4 Pros and Joes and Bathroom Update Guide


When to Clean Gutters? The Best Time to Clean Gutters

 

What is the best time to clean gutters?

The short answer is that it depends on where you are in the world. The most common time to clean gutters in the southeast is the wall and perhaps in the spring. But generally speaking, whenever there is plant matter on the ground, you may want to clean your gutters to make sure that they aren’t clogged.

If your property is located close to trees, you should plan to clean your gutters more often. This goes for evergreens too.

 

Underground drainage

If lots of leaves or straw fall on your property’s roof and gutters your downspouts drain underground you should take an additional step. You should strongly consider investing in a covered gutters solution. Aftermarket or made with the gutter.

The reason is that if you happen to wait too long to clean your gutters some of the trash from your downspouts will end up washing down your downspouts. This can cause water to drain slowly underground or even worse a blockage.

If your underground drains get blocked, you just added another job in addition to the gutter cleaning. Sometimes underground drains can be cleared out and other times they have to be removed and replaced.  

It’s really not worth it if you have the budget to address it. Once again this is for folks that get lots of trees. There are tons of options add-on gutter covers.

Temperature

If you can avoid gutter cleaning in the cold, it could be helpful. This one may be a bit of  “Nice to Have” but I we will include it anyway.

The warmer the body is the more limber you are and technically your reflexes should be better. It’s best to feel light on your toes when you are on a ladder. And it’s hard to feel that way if you can’t feel your toes at all.

 

Rain

The biggest concern with gutter cleaning is the risk of a fall. And one of the most likely ways for you to fall is by slipping on your feet. We all know that water and moisture make everything more slippery.

Don’t clean gutters when it’s wet outside. It should go without saying, but it has to be said. Do not clean gutters in the rain. Do not clean gutters right after it rains. Do not clean gutters when the ground is wet.

I would even go as far as to say avoid cleaning gutters when its forecasted to rain outside. The reason is that if you are cleaning gutters and it’s not raining, you will likely continue to clean gutters until you finish.

But if it starts raining before you finish there is a good chance that you will find yourself standing on the ladder while it’s raining. Not good.

Time of Day

Make sure that you clean gutters when you good lighting. Not too early in the morning and not too late in the evening. You want to be able to see everything clearly. When you are cleaning your gutters you have no idea of exactly you will run into when you are scooping out straw and debris. You need to be alert and focused and able to SEE.

The biggest concern when cleaning gutters is fall safety.

 

Can I clean my own gutters, and should I clean my own gutters?

The answer to this question is going to vary from person to person.

However, if you possess any of the traits listed below, you should not clean your own gutters.

 

Afraid of Heights

If you are afraid of heights you should just pass completely on the idea of gutter cleaning.  Not only do you have to be able to climb the ladder, but you must also be able to work efficiently. You can not work efficiently if you having a conniption the whole time you are up on the ladder.  

 

Afraid of Wildlife

Birds, reptiles, amphibians, rodents, insects, and plants. These are all things that you could run into while cleaning gutters. If you are scared or uneasy about any of them, don’t clean your own gutters.

 

Not Sure on Your Feet

if you are not nimble on your feet you should also pass on gutter cleaning. You need to be sure on your feet and you simply cannot afford to accidentally take a false step as a result of trying to catch your balance. This is true for people of all ages. Some people are simply less sure on the feet. If you need me to be more blunt, another less kind way of saying this is “less coordinated.”

 

Aged Out

Once you reach a certain point in your maturity, you should no longer be cleaning gutters. This is true even if you have done it by yourself all of your life. The reasoning is that if at any point in your life you are more likely to fall, its when you get older. And if you do fall, you are likely not going to heal as quickly as you once would have. And who is going to look after you? Your loved ones. Do yourself and your family and friends a favor and play it safe. Pay to have the leaves removed and call it a day. 

 

Alcohol

If you’ve been drinking, there is no way you should ever consider cleaning gutters. Your hand and eye coordination have been compromised by alcohol, and this is one activity where you will need it the most. Even if you don’t think you have a buzz, don’t do it.

Mental Clarity

If you feel like you’re moving slowly or you are feeling lethargic, stay off the ladder. You need to be completely alert and able to react. Make sure that you are well rested and don’t have anything weighing too heavily on your mind that is it affects your ability to focus on the present task at hand.

Safety First

Cleaning gutters is a task that is really all about safety. The actual task of removing debris from the gutter is pretty easy. Anyone could do it if the gutter was 1 or 2 feet off the ground. However, most gutters are a minimum of 8-10 feet of the ground for a single story home, and they go up from there. Your first objective is not to fall, cleaning the gutters is what you are doing while you are doing your best not to fall.