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Should You Clean Your Gutters in Winter?

Should You Clean Your Gutters in Winter?


Surface water drainage. House gutter covered in snow.

Keeping gutters clean is a vital part of gutter maintenance, helping to prevent a series of visual and structural issues around a property. Regular gutter cleaning should be completed once or twice a year on most properties, to ensure that there isn’t a buildup of leaves and debris. While typically scheduled in spring or autumn, some will need to clean their gutters in winter. 

In this guide from Coastal Drains, we’ll explore whether you should clean your gutters in the winter months, discuss the best time of year for gutter cleaning, and cover the best methods to clean guttering in winter.

The Importance of Gutter Cleaning

The guttering network is a key aspect of a home’s drainage system, transporting water from the roof of a property to the drains. Leaves, twigs, algae and other debris can be either blown, washed, or dropped into drains, causing blockages. 

These blockages, either within the gutter itself or within the downpipe, will cause water to spill over the edges, soaking roofs, walls, and floors. Water damage can cause issues like internal dampness, mould growth, and in extreme cases partial collapse of roofs or foundations. These will be time-consuming and costly to fix, particularly foundation and roof damage. 

If your gutters are currently blocked, then you should schedule a cleaning as soon as possible. In general, either one or two yearly cleans are recommended to ensure that the network is operating smoothly. Some homes have gutter guards installed, intended to limit debris from entering the gutter. But even in those cases, some gutter cleaning will still be needed.

Should You Clean Your Gutters in Winter?

Ice and snow building up inside a rooftop gutter system on a residential house

In most cases cleaning gutters in winter would not be advised, due to the cold weather and often adverse conditions. That being said, if your gutters are blocked it’s important to have them cleaned regardless of the time of year. Especially if you live within a cold area of the UK, a blocked downpipe could become frozen solid, making it especially difficult to clean. 

Frozen water and debris could also damage the gutters, as the extra weight could threaten the supports holding them in place. Snow and ice within your gutters can also contribute, and it’s important to prevent ice damming, which is when frozen water hangs from gutters.

When is the Best Time to Clean Gutters?

The best time to clean gutters is after the leaves have fallen, as this will pose the single biggest threat to your guttering, and prior cleaning could be rendered irrelevant. Whether you are cleaning the gutters yourself or using a professional, this would mean that the best time of year to clean gutters in the UK would be autumn, with an additional clean in spring if opting for two gutter cleans a year. Cleaning in autumn should, short of unexpected circumstances, ensure that your gutters are clear throughout the winter reducing the risk of water spilling over or freezing.

How to Clean Your Gutters in Winter

When it comes to cleaning clogged gutters the best DIY method is to use a gutter scoop or leaf blower from a ladder. This method will allow you to ensure that your gutters are fully cleaned. Gutter scoops are essentially rounded trowels, shaped to easily allow all debris to be shifted. You may also need to use water to clean out gutters. 

Leaf blowers can help to remove debris from gutters, providing it is dry. The downsides to this method are that you will have to manually reposition the ladder several times to cover the gutter system of your property. If the debris within your gutter is frozen, you can pour boiled water from a kettle onto it, making sure to remain safe throughout. 

You can clear a downpipe by running a hose through it in the case of a minor blockage, though more severe issues will require a thorough drain rodding, or in extreme cases, the downpipe to be disassembled, emptied, and reattached.

When it comes to washing gutters from the ground, high-pressure water jets are a popular gutter cleaning tool among professionals. These can be operated from the ground, dislodging dirt and debris through powerful water jets. This will likely create a mess. Gutter hoovers are also available, which are operated from the ground to vacuum debris within the gutter. In the case that your gutters contain frozen materials, these methods may not be hugely effective.

Gutter Cleaning From Our Expert Team

coastal drains van in brighton

Whether looking for a regular or emergency gutter cleaning service, Coastal Drains is available across Sussex to offer a professional service, fully emptying both your gutters and downpipes, and restoring your drainage network to peak condition. We can also offer gutter repairs and exterior cleaning, ideal for any problems with your guttering. 

Coastal Drains are a family-run business, earning a five-star Checkatrade score over our 15 years of service. In addition, all drainage work we offer comes with a low price guarantee, ensuring a great deal for our customers.

Contact our team today to book a gutter cleaning.