When is the best time to clean my gutters?

Anyone who tells you NOW NOW NOW is just trying to sell you something. Here’s the simple pros and cons.


  • The gutters may only have to be cleaned once this fall if all of the leaves near your house have fallen.
  • The rains that typically happen in October should flow better.


  • If you wait until the freezing temperatures come, it will be nearly impossible to get leaves that are frozen together by leaves.  In the spring you will have overflows which could result in water seeping into your basement or even problems with cracks or damage to your walls and foundation.
  • If the downspouts are not already clogged, waiting for longer could create a plug which if organic will decompose over time.  If the plug is inorganic and will therefore not rot, it will have to be either snaked out or else replaced.
  • Cleaning them out early may mean they need to be cleaned out a second time.
  • Everyone only wants to pay once per season to have their gutters cleaned out and there is a small window of time (a few weeks) where this is realistically possible.  Many professional companies book up quickly and may not be able to squeeze you into that small window of opportunity.  If you want to guarantee your place, you may want to ask your company for a contract and guarantee your place in the que with a small down payment.  (NOTE: Do not offer a down payment to companies who are not even listed on the Better Business Bureau website.  If a company asks for one and they are not on the BBB, this should be a red flag for you.)

Consider this:  The species of the trees around your house drop leaves at different times.  If most of the tall trees that fill your gutters with leaves have already dropped their leaves, then you could have them done sooner.  If not, then you may want to push back the cleaning unless you’re willing to have it done twice per season.

Prices:  If you’ve made the decision to have a company clean your gutters, prices vary.  Here in the midwest, your typical 1200 square foot single story ranch home costs about $200.  If you have a larger home, or multiple levels requiring more ladder work, expect to pay more.

DIY:  You can save a few bucks by doing the cleaning yourself but you need to be comfortable on a ladder.  Even professionals occasionally suffer falls.  Your chances of falling are multiplied.  If you do it yourself, just be careful.  We don’t recommend doing it yourself but if there is no room in your budget to have a professional company do the work, then you have no choice.  A few years ago, Green Bay Packer Hall of Famer Max McGee fell off of his roof while cleaning out his gutters.  He died.  I’m not saying that cleaning your gutters yourself is always fatal — all I’m saying is to be smart about it.  If you can afford to pay a pro — then leave the work to them.

If you want to save yourself the hassle of cleaning your gutters, consider a good gutter protection system, keeping in mind that a good system can cost as much as the gutters themselves.  Any company that tells you that their gutter protection is the only one on the market that works for every application is just selling you something.  Keep in mind different factors such as materials and climate.  Remember that metal protection will conduct cold from where ice sits on top of it to the gutters edge.   You’ll need to use some common sense when choosing a gutter protection.  Even sites like Consumer Reports offer poor advice that disregards climate while putting an emphasis on strength testing.  One self proclaimed review website shows how a certain gutter protection withstands dropping 10 pound weights on it.  Ask yourself if that is a realistic practical test.  If you think it through you will realize that if you have 10 pound balls or weights falling from the sky, your problems are bigger than gutter protection.

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