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clogged_gutter(MCT)—Don’t fall down on the job of keeping your gutters and downspouts clear and in good repair. They may be an “out of sight, out of mind” aspect of your home exterior, but neglecting them can lead to costly repairs.

Here’s a basic guide to gutter maintenance, compiled by our researchers and based on the expertise of gutter pros rated highly by Angie’s List members:

WHEN TO CHECK, CLEAN GUTTERS
Fall is a good time to think about gutters, since leaves dropping from trees are a main cause of clogging. But gutters and downspouts can be blocked by other things, too, including pine needles, twigs, “helicopter” maple seeds and even tennis balls.

Experts recommend checking your gutter system at least twice a year, in the spring and in the fall after trees have shed most of their leaves and needles.

Depending on how many trees you have, you may need to clear gutters and downspouts as often as every three months. If you have few trees or your gutters are covered by a screen or other guard-type product, they may need to be cleaned only once a year or every few years.

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