Texas Living

Fall Home Maintenance: Gutter Clean Out


By Lisa Martin

As you assemble your home maintenance to-do list this fall, be sure to add a line item about your gutters. Prepare your home for a gutter clean out.

“Particularly if, like me, you have a lot of trees on your property, you really need to take a close look at your gutters every fall and spring,” says Paula Sears, a longtime Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Agent in Weatherford. “We remind our clients to keep up with their routine home maintenance because the problems created by ignoring chores like that might not be covered on your policy.”

Such issues can range from minor to monumental. At best, leaf- and twig-filled gutters look unkempt. Pooling water in gutters often attracts mosquitoes, termites, carpenter ants, and other insects. On the more serious end of the spectrum, the accumulated debris can cause the gutter to tear way from the roof, damaging the soffit, roof, or fascia plus possibly allowing water to leak into your home. And that’s not taking into account any damage to your landscaping or home’s foundation that can result. Truly catastrophic possibilities include increased wildfire risk (thanks to the dried leaves) and creating ice dams in winter.

“To clean your gutters yourself, wear gloves, a dust mask, and safety goggles,” recommends home guru Bob Vila, who also calls a good ladder a must. “Scoop the debris into a garbage bag with a garden trowel, then rinse toward the downspout with a high-pressure nozzle on your hose and scrub it clean.”

If you’re not up for a DIY project, stay safe and hire help.

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