How Often Should Gutters be Cleaned?
A common question for property owners, whether they have a commercial business or a residential dwelling, is how often should the gutters be cleaned. Attached to this may be questions of why gutters need to be cleaned out, or what can happen if gutters are left to gather leaves, twigs and other debris.
At Square Foot Property Rescue, we have the knowledge and experience needed to expertly answer these questions, giving our clients the information they need to keep their properties in top condition.
We are also able to clean your gutters for you, should you require this for your commercial or domestic property. If you are in need of our services, please get in touch with our team as soon as possible to arrange a day for your gutters to be professionally cleaned.
How Often Should You Have Your Gutters Cleaned?
Generally speaking, we recommend having your gutters fully cleaned and cleared out twice a year. The first of these should happen in the late spring, when the nearest trees have shed their blossom and birds have finished nesting, and the second should take place in early autumn, when you’re likely to see an increase in fallen leaves, twigs, and other debris.
This is, however, an approximate estimate. There are a number of factors which may mean your gutters will need cleaning more often, or even less if conditions are just right. For instance, if you have a number of large trees near your home, around your property or lining the road alongside it, you may need your gutters regularly cleaned every few months, rather than two separate times a year. This is owed to the amount of dry leaves, small branches and birds’ nests which may accumulate over time.
However, if your property is situated in a large, open space with little to no tree coverage, or is based on a housing estate which has had no tree growth as of yet, you may only need your gutters cleaned once a year.
What Causes Blocked Gutters?
There are many different reasons your gutter system may become blocked, with a large number of these related to unpredictable weather here in the UK. Leaves, flowers, seeds and blossom from trees will commonly fall in the spring and autumn months, but high winds may see a larger number fall than you were anticipating. Dirt, dust and debris will also fall in rain and may encourage moss to grow, contributing to the problem and leaving you with clogged gutters as a result.
Animal intervention can often play a part in blocking your gutters as well, because birds will often choose them as nesting sites. In some more unfortunate cases, birds and other animals may even die in the gutter, which will only worsen the issue.
In each of these cases, there will be obstacles (either one or a gathered mass) preventing rainwater from draining away correctly.
Signs of a Blocked Gutter
If you suspect there is a blocked gutter somewhere on your property, there are a number of signs you’ll want to look out for in order to determine it. The most common of these signs can be spotted as soon as it starts to rain, as your roof gutters may start to leak or overflow. Your gutters may also noticeably sag under the weight of the debris filling them up, or grass may start to grow up and over the sides, as the retained water encourages any seeds dropped from trees or by birds to start germinating.
As it’s often animal nests which are blocking the gutters around your property, seeing the animals themselves close to your gutters may also be a sign that you should check for clogs. Birds, mice and squirrels have all been reported as pests in the UK before, and the problem may have continued with your own gutters as well.
Signs of a problem may not only keep to the gutters themselves. Staining on the walls of homes and businesses is often a common problem when there’s also a significant amount of standing water in your gutters. If you find this problem on your walls, you may wish to take a look and check if there is something filling the space which shouldn’t be there.
What Happens if You Don’t Clean Your Gutters?
“Surely it can’t be that bad if I miss one gutter cleaning?”, you may think to yourself as you decide not to attempt the cleaning process, or when you remember that you were going to call in professional gutter cleaners but have now left the call too late. It’s a common assumption that not seeing a problem with your gutters must mean that there isn’t one, when quite often the opposite is actually true. Not every gutter for every property will display signs of blockage, though all may suffer from the same problems if they’re not regularly cleaned and maintained.
The first problem that can occur is leaking or overflowing gutters. This may not only cause damage to your property, but can escalate as the dead leaves and other debris begin to decompose alongside the unmoving, stagnant water. Mould is formed this way, and will become an issue not only for your property if it gets into your walls, but also a health issue if it’s left there and residents breathe it in. It can also be costly to remove and difficult to treat.
When pipes overflow and run down brick walls, this may lead to issues with erosion and to mortar breaking away. Fascia boards, especially those made of wood, may also begin to rot and could potentially break as well, with both of these potentially requiring expensive repairs or even complete replacement. Any paintwork you have carried out on your roof and guttering will also start to peel, causing aesthetic damage to the property you have worked hard on.
The water damage may also extend further out than your property and its gutters, as it can also cause erosion on pathways and driveways, which may be expensive and time consuming to repair.
Not cleaning out your gutters can also invite and encourage birds, bugs and other pests to nest there, which may lead to mess around the outside of your property or even to infestations in the interior if the animals make their way inside.
How to Clean Out Your Gutters
A variety of methods are available if you wish to clean out your gutters by yourself. These range from using hand trowels and buckets to collect water and debris, to using a shop vac for dry blockages. The quickest, most simple solution is to use a pressure washer or garden hose in order to flush your gutters clean, having used a wire to break up any large clogs beforehand.
It must be noted that unless your property is on a single storey (for example, a bungalow), you will need to use a ladder to carry out this work. This may represent an issue for health and safety, as guttering maintenance often requires two hands and you will not have any method of holding onto the ladder itself. That is why it is better left to professionals who have all the required safety equipment and experience to carry out the job safely.
How to Reduce Debris
There are some smaller tasks you may decide to carry out which will reduce the amount of debris in your gutters. This then makes the gutter cleaning process easier when the full work is carried out. Such tasks include installing a gutter guard to prevent solid debris from entering them, regularly flushing out your downspouts to wash away any accumulated leaves or twigs and checking your gutters’ alignment to ensure they are flush with the eaves and no gaps are left.
When to Contact a Professional Service
As a professional gutter cleaning service in London, UK, we would highly recommend that you always call an experienced maintenance company to clear and unblock your gutters. The work is often more dangerous than property owners realise, and can cause serious injury if something goes wrong. You may also accidentally cause damage to your guttering if the work is carried out incorrectly, which will take time from your schedule to repair, as well as money you may not have planned for in your budget.
Scheduling Gutter Cleaning with Us
At Square Foot Property Rescue, we understand the stress and frustrations that come with having blocked, damaged or overflowing gutters. This is why we have a dedicated, specialist team available to clean out your gutters on a schedule which suits you. This can act to save your guttering from an urgent issue, or be booked in as regular maintenance to help keep your property in its ideal condition for a long time to come.
We work to provide you with the highest quality service for your property, with minimal disruption to your planned activity and ensuring your peace of mind.
Our gutter cleaning prices start from £90.00+VAT, and our team members are ready and waiting to come to your location to resolve any gutter emergency as soon as possible. Contact us today and our team will be ready to help if it appears as though your gutters are ready to overflow with the next heavy rainfall.