Gutters are among the major defenders of your home against moisture buildup after storms. If they get clogged or are not maintained periodically for maximum performance, they cannot do their job, which means you could be looking at major damages to your home that will cost a lot more.
Depending on where you live, gutters should be cleaned at different times. If you live in desert conditions, you should be checking for buildup of debris more frequently due to the sandy conditions. If you live in the woods, you should only need to check your gutters once a year. If you live somewhere that it snows or ices over a lot during the winter season, then your gutters might get ice dams or leaks, which means calling the professionals to fix it.
Be sure to clean leaves and debris from the gutters each fall before the rains begin. Fall is the best time to do this, because it’s when everything is falling. It’s also the optimal time to clean because it’s when vermin might be living or dying in the spouts and gutters. Use leaf guards on the gutters to prevent accumulation. Use strainers over the downspout holes. These can be made from a short strip of rolled chicken wire that is inserted into the downspout hole.
Check that the downspouts are clear. If not, blast the debris out with a hose stream, or use a plumbing snake. Check during a rain for any leaks at the gutter joints. A bead of caulk will often be enough to seal the leak.
Over the years, gutter supports become loose, rusted, and broken. Check them periodically and replace or repair as necessary. You need to have your gutters in the optimal condition, and spending a little bit of money on part of the replacement plumbing beats spending hundreds of dollars on repairing water damage.