Gutters are one of your home's main lines of protection against water damage, which is why gutter maintenance is so important. Without the right upkeep, they do not work as intended. They get clogged, overflow, and moisture makes its way into your home. Overflowing gutters can mean warped shingles, flooded basements, soil erosion around your house and much more.
How often you need to do gutter maintenance will depend on where you live. For example, if you live in desert areas, sand will kick up into your gutters. This means you will need to clean them more often. Conversely, if you live in a heavily forested area, you only need to check your gutters annually. However, if it's quite cold where you are, you should have them inspected after every winter season, as snow and ice can create dams or leaks in your gutters. If that happens, they will need repairs or they will not be able to keep water off your house.
Fall is an ideal time to clean your gutters because all of the leaves are falling from the trees. Winds are knocking down dead branches and the rains are starting. You'll want to clean out everything from your gutters and downspouts before the downpours begin. There is also a lot of animal activity in the fall. You might see bird's nests and dead creatures in the gutters and downspouts, which often leads to troublesome blockages. Leaf guards and downspout strainers can help keep out the worst of these problems, though those too will have to be regularly checked to ensure they are in working order.
Always check that the downspouts leading away from your house are not clogged. If they are, you can snake them with a standard plumbing snake or use the water pressure from your hose to clear them. When it rains, go to all of your gutter joints and watch for any leaking. If you see leaks, lay a bead of caulk to seal the joint.
With time, your gutter system will age. Parts will rust, wiggle lose or outright break. If you do regular gutter maintenance, it will help keep the problem from getting worse. Check them regularly and repair any leaks or breaks as you see them. With a little bit of effort and money, you can prevent much larger expenses that are the result of regular water intrusion into your home.