Why you should clean your gutters regularly

cleaning leaves out of gutter with garden gloves


Posted March 05, 2024

Waiting until winter to do something about leaves clogging up the gutters can cause problems. Here’s why autumn is the perfect time to clean your gutters. 

While there might be some tasks that you can put off, gutter cleaning is one of the most important home maintenance jobs to complete often, especially in autumn.

In the autumn months, many trees and shrubs shed their leaves in preparation for winter. This process means that many leaves, twigs and other debris can clutter your roof and block gutters. Effectively removing this build-up of leaves and debris before the wettest months of the year is crucial to protecting the structural integrity of your home, and can prevent costly roof and gutter repairs down the track.

Benefits of cleaning your gutters regularly


Prevent gutter damage to your home

The main purpose of gutters is to help drain rainwater from your roof. But with clogging from fallen autumn leaves and debris, gutters can become very heavy and dammed, with overflowing water having nowhere to drain.

This extra weight and stress can cause structural damage to your gutters, including rust, sagging, tilting, detaching, and even falling to the ground. Damaged gutters typically need to be replaced entirely, which can be very expensive.


Leave gutter cleaning to the professionals if you're not confident.

Protect your roof from damage

When rainwater on the roof has nowhere to drain because of clogged gutters, water may pool in one spot on your roof tiles. Left unattended, even small pooling and leaks can lead to major roof damage, including water seeping through roof tiles and into the home, rotting wood, or even parts of the roof collapsing. Without regular gutter cleaning and care, homeowners and landlords may be up for expensive roof repairs.

Professional gutter cleaners can help prevent these costs. Not only will they clean your gutters, but they’ll also look for signs of roof damage that needs to be repaired.

Avoid damaging your home's foundations

The main purpose of gutters is to direct rainwater runoff into drains, rather than straight onto your lawn or garden beds, where it could erode the soil next to your house and lead to water pooling.

Just like pooled water can damage a roof, the structural integrity of the home can suffer from pooled water that seeps through to the home's foundation. Significant cracks can form in porous foundation materials such as concrete or wooden stumps, resulting in an unstable and shifting house.

RACV Trades worker clearing gutters while standing safely on a ladder

Having a reliable tradie on hand is key for effective property management. Image: Getty


Reduce health risks from mould and bacteria

Water that can’t drain properly from the roof has the potential to go stagnant, potentially triggering illness for those in the home who suffer from asthma or allergies. Leaf mulch and other debris in the gutters are also a prime breeding ground for dampness, mildew, mould and bacteria, which can spread through the roof and into the home.

To help prevent harmful mould spores from multiplying in your home's air and becoming a health risk, have your gutters professionally cleaned regularly.

Prevent pest infestations

Unwanted pests such as rodents, cockroaches and mosquitos are all attracted to stagnant water and rotting leaf debris. These pests thrive in damp, dark conditions and can soon begin infesting the home. Birds may also attempt to build their nests in clogged gutters during late spring and early summer.

Make sure to eliminate any debris like leaves and twigs from your gutters regularly so that water can flow cleanly and freely, and discourage insects and birds from nesting in the eaves.

hand in green glove clutching a mound of dirty, twigs and leaves plucked from a roof gutter

Help prevent dampness and bacteria by keeping your gutters clean. Image: Getty


How often should I clean my gutters?

"At a minimum, gutters should be cleaned at least twice a year," says RACV Senior Product Manager for Home Trades & Services Nathan Tayeh. "The best time to clean them is just before summer and right after autumn. Depending on the foliage around your property, you may want to get them cleaned more regularly."

What's the best way to clean gutters?

Working at height on a ladder can be risky, and you will likely be dealing with slimy, slippery leaf litter, bugs, animal nests and stagnant water when cleaning your gutters. If you choose to clean your gutters yourself, be cautious and ensure that you always use safety equipment such as gloves and non-slip shoes. You will also need a sturdy ladder, a bucket and a hose.

Clear any debris from the gutters, placing it into the bucket as you go, and prioritise the cleaning the areas around each downpipe. Finally, take the nozzle off your hose and place the hose as far down each downpipe as you can. Turn the water on to make sure that water can move freely through the downpipe. If it can, your job is done.

Better yet, hire a professional to give your gutters a thorough clean. Professional roof cleaners will clean your gutters and even look for signs of roof and gutter damage that should be repaired.

RACV Trades can help get your home in order.
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