Love it or loath it, the New York Times is one of the biggest, if not the biggest newspaper in the country. When something appears within its pages, it’s probably something that has caught a lot of folk’s attention—something that is important. So the fact that the paper recently devoted a significant chunk of space to the topic of gutter repair should tell you something.

What it should tell you is simply that cleaning and fixing up your gutters is vital—and there’s no time like the present, especially not now that summer weather is here in full force.

The Times article is a first-person account of a man who realized, perhaps a little too late, that his gutters were in serious need of some TLC. To get them working properly, he enlisted the help of a handful of gutter professionals. Along the way, the article reiterates a few pointers that are probably worth repeating.

1.  One important thing to look for is the presence of a gap between your gutter and the roof. You can probably detect this most clearly when it’s raining a bit; if there are torrents of water coming down from behind your gutter, that’s a problem. These gaps happen when there’s such a heavy load of debris in the gutter that it becomes detached from the roof.

2.  Those gaps will likely be accompanied by nails that are sticking out. That gives you an idea of how to fix the problem, too—only instead of reusing the same nails, try getting some longer screws, and see if those don’t hold things in place a bit better.

3.  Something that cannot be emphasized enough: Downspouts and splashguards exist for a reason. They are there to help protect your home, and if you’ve set them aside, you should get them back out! They could potentially save you from thousands of dollars worth of water damage to your house’s foundation.

The whole article is worth reading, at least for homeowners; not all of the tips will apply to your particular gutter system, necessarily, but it never hurts to be reminded of the importance of gutter maintenance, and gutter protection!