When Is the Best Time to Clean Your Gutters and Why?

When Is the Best Time to Clean Your Gutters and Why?

We have written before about why it is so important to keep your gutters clean and clear. In fact, we think it's such an important topic that our very first blog post was devoted to it. If you are not yet sure whether having your gutters clean is important, we strongly recommend you read that article.

Now we have established the importance of gutter cleaning in general, the question of scheduling arises. When should you clean your gutters?

Obviously if your gutters are blocked, overflowing or otherwise don't allow for the water to drain efficiently away from the roof, the time to have them cleaned is as soon as possible, whatever the season. 

What about regular maintenance though, to ensure blockages don't happen? How often should gutter cleaning be done? When is the best time to clean your gutters? Is it better to clean the gutters in the spring or in the autumn, or maybe some other time?

Let's look at those questions more closely.

When is the Best Time to Clean Gutters?

The best time to clean gutters is just before they will need to work really hard at keeping rain away from your walls and the interior of your home. 

Have your gutters cleaned in the autumn, ready for winter

In the English climate, this means that if you clean your home gutters once a year only (we will go back to this one further on), the best time to do it is in the autumn, after most of the leaves have fallen off the trees. Removing the debris before it turns into a soggy mess affecting the drainage and making the gutters overflow just in time for those winter storms and heavy rainfall is a very good idea.

Another reason to clean the gutters in the autumn is that the sheer weight of the accumulated debris can damage the gutters, make them bend and loosen the joint seals. This is particularly important if there is any risk of the temperatures falling below zero: a mass of rotting leaves will soak the water like a sponge, and when it all freezes, damage to the gutters, and resulting leaks, is even more likely.

Whether you are doing a DIY job or employing a professional, gutter cleaning in autumn once the leaves are off the trees will usually ensure that your gutters run clear throughout the winter, greatly reducing the likelihood of water overflowing or freezing.

Spring gutter cleaning is also worth doing

Whilst the autumn clean is the most important, don't underestimate the role of a good spring clean! All kinds of debris might accumulate in the gutters throughout the winter and getting rid of it is definitely worth doing. The main reason for a spring gutter clean, in addition to simply getting the winter debris out, is to reduce the probability of vegetation establishing itself in the gutter.

The composted leaves, plentiful water and often good light create rather good growing conditions, and grass, weeds and even little bushes can appear in no time at all in neglected gutters. These will in turn not just block the clear flow of water off the roof, but the developing roots might damage gutters or masonry. The easiest way to avoid plants establishing themselves at your roofline is to clean the gutters before the vegetation season!

That is why at Lemon General, our answer to the often-asked question:

How often should gutters be cleaned?

...is, gutters should be cleaned as often as it's needed, but ideally, at least once a year, before and after winter.

There are several factors that are worth considering when deciding on how often and when precisely to book your gutter cleaning for.

The most important of those is the trees in your garden or immediate vicinity. Different broad-leaved trees shed their leaves at slightly different times (for example oak leaves can remain attached to the tree even when brown, and trees with a northern aspect will often lose their leaves earlier than the same species facing south). Conifers, such as pines, don't lose leaves seasonally (apart from larches) but shed throughout the year. If you have pines nearby, the biggest hazard for your gutters will be pine cones blocking the gutters and sometimes the downpipes too (that's why it's important to make sure that mesh balloons are placed at the downpipe outlets). 

General weather patterns, and the times of the biggest rainfall and wind will also influence the frequency and timing of gutter cleaning. If you live on an exposed site in an area of frequent storms, it makes sense to clean your gutters more frequently: after all they are working hard to keep your home safe from water ingress. 

The photo in the header of this article shows our current gutter-cleaning work as it's happening.

Our prices start from as little as £50, and if you book your gutter clean before the winter officially starts on the 21 Dec 2022, we will clean your windows gratis!
Book your gutter clean before winter 2022 and get your windows cleaned for free. Offer valid for existing customers too.

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