Every fall, I love watching the leaves turn gold and red and orange, and I especially enjoy hearing the crunching sound when I walk through piles of leaves. The temperature cools down after a long stretch of summer heat. There’s a cool breeze in the air that’s perfect for sweater weather. Autumn is such an amazing time of the year!

… Except for the damage that the season brings to the gutters. Cleaning and maintaining the gutters is often an overlooked task, until someone discovers that there’s a problem with their gutters. This fall, avoid the headache of dysfunctional gutters by taking a bit of time to clean and inspect them. Here are some of the steps that you should take to maintain your gutters this fall:

Remove the debris and leaves that have collected in your gutters. You can either climb a ladder and clean your gutters out yourself by pulling out the debris and leaves yourself, or you can hire a contractor to do the work for you. It’s important to periodically clean out your gutters to avoid having them become clogged. In addition, rotting debris may also invite mosquitos, carpenter ants, and other unwelcome critters into your gutters. Yuck! According to Home Advisors, Inc., most homeowners spent between $100 and $189 on cleaning their gutters and downspouts.

Use a hose with high water pressure of a power washer to clean out the interior of your gutters. Because it can be really easy for small pieces of debris to remain in your gutters even after you have diligently removed the larger clogged materials, washing out the gutters is a critical step in extending the life of your gutters. When cleaning them, aim the opening on the hose toward the downspout and scrub out any stains or dirt that you see.

Inspect your gutters for any signs of damage that could lead to problems down the road. Are your gutters sagging or leaking? Are there any noticeable gaps? Do you see any signs of mold or mildew growing on your gutters that could potentially become a health hazard? If you notice any problems with your gutters, contact a licensed technician to have the issue professionally examined and fixed. Don’t wait until after the next big storm to fix the problem, because at that point, you will have to make even bigger repairs, which will cost you even more than if you fix the problem as soon as you see it.

Add gutter guards. One of the most effective ways to prevent your gutters from becoming clogged with debris, fallen leaves, and roofing particles is by installing gutter guards. Not only will clogged gutters obstruct the drainage of your gutters, the rubbish that’s stuck in your gutters may even cause your gutters to shift, which can lead to water leaking into your home during a big storm.

But what if your gutters aren’t working properly? Don’t delay in treating your gutters because if there’s a big rainstorm, you could end up with water damage to the foundation of your house, which could leave you with very expensive repair bills. If you’re looking for trained professionals to inspect or repair your gutters, our AROCON technicians have experience installing and fixing gutters, and we’d be happy to help!

After you’ve taken care of your gutters, you can go back to enjoying the changing colors of the foliage and maybe even check out one of these top 10 places to see autumn leaves!