Gutters are the first line of defense between your home and the elements, right? So they should be designed to withstand these elements—rain, wind, snow, hail, etc.—without much help from the homeowner. While this line of thinking makes sense, the unfortunate truth is that gutters suffer from a design flaw; gutter systems are made in a way that allows debris to accumulate, resulting in overflows and water damage.

Because of this design flaw, your gutter system needs to be cleaned at least once a year. If you live in an area that is surrounded by a lot of plant life, you may need to clean them after each spring and fall. While this is, admittedly, not the most exciting task in the world, gutter cleaning can save you a ton of money in repair costs. Additionally, it can protect your home and your family from the mold, mildew, wood rot, and other effects of water damage.

When leaves, twigs, pine cones, and other debris accumulate in your gutters, they can obstruct the flow of water. The purpose of the gutter system is to manage the flow of water, carrying it off of the roof, through the downspout, and away from your home. But when this debris piles up, water cannot flow freely. As a result, it may overflow, running down the sides of the gutter trough and, ultimately, down the sides of your house. Over time, this water can cause damage. While this damage may range from mild to severe, it (and the repair costs associated with it) is preventable.

Cleaning your gutters is a difficult and relatively dangerous task; however, many companies have created products to assist you with this activity. Gutter protection systems cover the gutters, preventing debris from accumulating. Gutter scoops make it easier for you to remove the debris. Likewise, gutter cleaning attachments for your power washer and wet/dry vac allow you to clean your gutter system more effectively.