Gutter cleaning is essential to home maintenance, especially if you have a lot of trees around your yard. Depending on the weather and accessibility, we have several methods and tools we use to clean gutter interiors and ensure you are left only with clean gutters, clean downspouts, and no mess left behind.
In addition to our basic interior gutter-cleaning service, we can also clean the gutter face, caulk leaky seams, re-attach gutters that are separating from the house, and insert screen cones into the downspouts. Cones protect the downspout from clogging and allow debris to fill the entire gutter before overflowing. Homeowners should have them installed if:
a. downspouts lead to an underground drainage system
b. gutters overflow before filling up with debris. This is more common with broadleaves, but can happen just as easily with conifers if they closely surround the house.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Do you clean the downspouts as well?
Yes. We make sure every downspout is clean, often using snakes and hoses. If the clog is bad, we may need to take the pipe apart and put it back together. This is included in the basic gutter-cleaning price. If the clog is underground, however, we will need to refer you to a plumber and recommend screen cones to prevent further clogging.
What about all the debris on my roof? Won’t it just run down into the gutters after you’ve cleaned them?
If there isn’t much debris on the roof, we will sometimes include an air-blow with the gutter cleaning and it will be listed on your estimate. If it’s not listed, and you think you need it, tell us. We’ll be happy to add that service.
Can you clear an underground drainage pipe if it turns out that my overflowing gutters are a result of a blockage below ground?
Yes! We now have the equipment to handle many underground blockages up to a hundred feet. However, this is a different service from gutter cleaning and will be listed on quotes and invoices as a separate line item. If you are interested in this service, please let us know.
Should I install a leaf-filtration system (sometimes called gutter guards or gutter filters) on my gutters?
Our overall feeling about leaf-filtration systems is that they are a bad idea for most homeowners. The good systems tend not to be cost-effective and the mid- to low-quality systems cause more problems than they fix and will likely need to be removed after a year or two. Still, we recommend you do the math and find out for yourself:
1. Find out how much money you would spend on gutter cleanings for the time you intend to remain in your home. For example, say you plan on retiring and moving elsewhere in 10 years. If your gutters need to be cleaned once a year and if they cost $160 per visit (the cost for an average home), that’s a total of $1,600.
2. Then find out the price of the various leaf-filtration systems, installation costs, the guaranties on each (if any), and any value added to your home if you were to sell. Add to this any regular gutter maintenance costs that remain once the LFS has been installed. (Warranties on these systems only promise that the gutters won’t clog. They don’t guarantee that rain won’t run over when leaves and needles cover the filters. This is a common problem. If you have one installed, just know that you will often still need to brush or blow off the debris). Then make sure to account for the time-value of money ($1,600 paid toward an LFS today is more expensive than $1,600 paid out for gutter cleaning in $160 annual payments).
A high-quality LFS that really works and has a clog-free guarantee (like Leaf Filter) can cost thousands of dollars and will probably add no value to the home on the sale. A mid-quality system from a lesser-known company may cost less and may even come with a clog-free guarantee, but they don’t tend to work as well and look out for the hidden danger that the company may go out of business and will not be able to back it’s guarantee. Again, these add little or no value to the home upon installation. Low-quality systems, such a self-installed screening or cheap foam inserts can really save you a lot of money initially, but they tend not to work in the long run, give no guarantees, and they often have to be removed after a few years because they’ve created more problems than they’ve solved.
3. Make a comparison. What’s the best overall decision for you? Most people, after running the numbers will find that a leaf filtration system doesn’t add up. But for some, particularly those who intend to keep their home for a great many years and have relatively little leaf fall around their home, an LFS may be the way to go. Here are a few major brands to check out: Leaf Guard, Gutter Glove, Leaf Filter, and for the do-it-yourselfer, the best brand on the market today is Rain Filter.
If you live in the Greater Seattle area and still have questions about any of this, please feel free to send us an email.