Why It’s A Mistake to Wait for Every Leaf to Drop Before Gutter Cleaning

Posted on October 20, 2021

Sometimes our best intentions get in the way of our best decisions. Gutter Cleaning, if doing it yourself, is an investment of time. It’s an investment of money if you’re hiring someone else. So, reasonably, we want to get the most out of that time or money. Our brains, therefore, tell us it makes the most sense to wait until every leaf drops from the trees to do or schedule our Fall gutter cleaning. 

While this appears to be logical thinking, it often ends up being a big mistake that many homeowners make. As gutter cleaning professionals, let us dispel this myth for you.

Fresh Fallen Leaves Are Not What’s Clogging Your Gutters

That’s right, fresh fallen leaves are not the biggest culprit blocking your gutters. If you’ve cleaned out your own gutters, you know this to be true. If you haven’t, look at this photo for proof. Cleaning gutters can be a messy, smelly, and quite frankly, gross process. That’s because what’s often clogging gutters is not the light crispy fresh fallen leaves…it’s muck. It’s decomposed matter that’s been sitting in your gutters from Spring until Fall. Summer storms can blow all kinds of organic debris, and birds and squirrels love to build nests. Shingle dust also washes down off your roof.  If you think about the flow of water through a channel, which do you think would allow water to flow better…compacted muck or a scattering of dried leaves?  Hands down, you’re better off with some dried leaves.

You Can’t Always Beat Mother Nature

The end of Fall inevitably brings the start of Winter, and freezing temperatures.  By waiting for every leaf to drop, you risk having the previously mentioned muck left to freeze in your gutters. Why is that a problem, you ask? There are a few reasons. Frozen debris in your gutters can be extremely heavy. The weight of a heavy gutter can cause it to pull away from your home, causing costly damage to your siding or trim. Clogged gutters can also form ice dams, which is when water flows over the edges of a clogged gutter and then freezes, potentially forcing water into your home. 

Once your gutters are frozen, it’s a tricky feat to safely clear them out. Chipping away at frozen gutters can do damage and is not a good option. The only safe way is to melt the ice with either hot water or steam. It adds more labor, and that’s only if you can find an optimal day and time. If there’s snow on the ground, it’s also not a safe time to put up a ladder.

Twice Per Year Gutter Cleaning, Minimum, Is Key

In summary, sure, it’s best to wait until most leaves fall to clear your gutters. However, we recommend it’s better to go ahead and clean them once 70% of the leaves have dropped and before freezing temperatures strike. Whatever loose leaves you don’t get in the Fall, you can get in the Spring. It’s best to clean your gutters, at minimum, every six months…more often, if you are in a heavily wooded area.

Want to Leave Gutter Cleaning to the Professionals?

Men in Kilts offers complete gutter and downspout cleaning. If you’d like to find out how much it would cost to have us professionally clean your gutters, we’d be happy to provide you with a free estimate.

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