When is a good time to clean out my gutters?

Ok – here it is! Our first North Shore Home Services blog. I’m not even sure really how to do it, but I have been told by the powers that be (“they” are looking over my shoulder as I type this) that this blog is required in the new world order of today’s progressive business owner. (obviously I fought this as long as I could)

I’ve been told to answer the above question with my wealth of knowledge and vast years of experience.

The most common statement I hear from home owners is, “I don’t need my gutters cleaned – the leaves haven’t fallen yet!”
I mean – I know that is true in most cases- and yes when the leaves fall – you need to clean out your gutters. Most of the leaves have generally fallen off most trees in Metro Vancouver sometime in November. I’ve always asked myself, however, – isn’t the purpose of your rain water system – whether it is a traditional gutter system or some type of roof drain system – to actually work when it rains?

I mean yes – the leaves start turning color in Metro Vancouver in late August and September and starting falling off the branches. It rains pretty much at will in Vancouver – but really the heavy rains that people in the majority of the world have not experienced is sometime in November, and if we are lucky ends by January, and on a bad year – ends sometime in June.

Murphy’s Law rules in my house and says my gutters will overflow sometime after dinner time on a dark rainy night just after I have sat down to enjoy a hockey game, or Amazing Race. (Doesn’t it always happen on a Sunday?)

Come on – we’ve all done it……..or thought about it…..

How many times have you climbed a ladder and found only a handful of leaves sitting right at your downpipe – clogging up the entire length of gutter. And as soon as you pull them out – your entire length of gutter drains like a flash flood?

So my point……….cleaning before the leaves fall might be a good idea, and maybe even again after they fall obviously depending on the amount of trees you have in your neighborhood. It might be the best 60 or 90 bucks you’ve ever spent.

What about all those trees that drop needles in your neighbors back yard?

Ooops sorry! – wrong picture!! That was a picture meant to send you to that happy place you like so much when it rains in November.

Anyways – back to the blog: You don’t think every time we have a month of June where it seems to rain and be windy every day that a handful of needles aren’t floating through the air and over your fence and into your gutter?

And what about all you naysayers on lower Lonsdale or in East Vancouver who say “I have no trees around – I don’t need to have my gutters cleaned!”

Alright – good point……….

Let me show you a picture:

This roof needs to be cleaned
Roof before we cleaned – yes there is a roof drain in this picture!

This picture was taken off a flat roof of a customer of ours in Lower Lonsdale who had no trees around and couldn’t figure out why he was having leaking problems inside his walls after every heavy rainfall warning.
Multiple dollars spent on leak detection companies checking his windows and doors did not solve anything. $ 120.00 was all he spent to have us air blow his roof off. I advised him in the future to maybe just get it done a bit more regularly next time instead of another round of drywall repairs.

I have run across every situation while cleaning gutters out. A real common problem is peanuts. Your neighbor feeds the squirrels and somehow has trained them to eat them on your roof. Birds, specifically crows love to go through your garbage and take the plastic bags to a safe position on your roof to go through lunch. I’ve found tennis balls, big acorns, and beer cans? I’ve found birds nests, and with birds nests come with lots of bird droppings – enough to clog gutters. This is a family show, so I won’t tell you have found up there. All this in gutters in places where there are “no trees”.
Again – a pretty inexpensive problem to solve and this should be one of those routine maintenance things you work into your home maintenance plan. It’s way cheaper to clean your gutters than to pay for the repairs that overflowing gutters can cause.

I personally recommend this cleaning schedule:
A) A thorough cleaning and flush with water in November including clearing off any loose debris including needles and leaves off your roof.
B) Another light cleaning and just checking roof and gutter drains sometime late December before the Holidays or even in early January if you forget.
C) Have your gutters checks in April sometime – what is it again – April showers bring May flowers?
D) A light check up of roof and gutter drains in August to make sure everything is ready for the rains that come every winter.

That’s my take.
Hope you enjoyed my blog, and thanks for reading.
If you have comments, suggestions or even an idea of a future blog – please don’t hesitate to email me @ troy@northshorehomeservices.com

4 thoughts on “When is a good time to clean out my gutters?”

  1. Awesome blog Troy – really great tips and an enjoyable read too.

    • Thanks Darren.
      We’ll see where this goes.


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