Fall Gutter Cleaning: Before or after the leaves fall?

fall gutter cleaning

Fall is the most important time of year to get your gutters cleaned. That’s when most of the leaves and other debris fall and clog up your gutter system. Customers often ask us “when is the best time to schedule your Fall Gutter Cleaning?” or “should I clean my gutters before the leaves fall or after the leaves fall?” The short answer is AFTER the leaves have fallen , but there is much more to it than that.

In this article we explain all the do’s and don’ts of fall gutter cleaning, when to schedule your fall gutter cleaning, and why we suggest to get on a yearly fall gutter cleaning schedule.


Autumn Leaves

fall leaves

It’s no secret that trees drop all of their leaves in the fall. What a lot of people don’t know is that these leaves cause a bunch of damage to your gutter system and eventually your home if not cleaned out every year. Larger debris like leaves clog up your gutter system and when the gutters are clogged the water can’t drain properly. Fall leaves are your gutter systems worst enemy.

Winter is Coming

frozen gutter debris

Why is it so important to clear out all of the leaves in the Fall? That’s because winter is right around the corner. And with winter comes freezing temperatures, ice, and snow.

The key to fall gutter cleaning is to wait as long as possible for every last leaf to drop, and then get the gutters cleaned before it snows and freezes over. If your downspouts are clogged when it snows or ices, the melting water can’t drain and causes a slew of problems. For example water expands when it freezes, therefore it can stretch open seems on gutters and eventually bust them open. The other major thing that happens is the snow and ice will build up and slowly pull the gutters from the wall.

For more information on “why to clean your gutters before winterCLICK HERE.

frozen gutter


Leave Accumulation

The easiest way to know if it is time to clean the gutters, is to look up and see if there are piles of leaves in the gutters or along the roof edge. If there are piles of leaves in the gutters, it is time to clean them out.

gutter debris accumulation

Clogged Downspouts

We recommend checking your gutters during rain every couple months, if not sooner. The best way to know if your gutters are clogged, is by checking them during rain. Observing your gutters during rain gives you a first hand look at how your gutters are functioning. If there are any spills or leaks, then something is wrong.

Checking your downspouts during rain is crucial to keeping your gutter system running correctly. Most gutter clogs occur in the downspouts, and when the gutters are clogged barely any water will come out of the downspout. If little to no water is coming out of any of your downspouts, that downspout is clogged. When you have multiple downspouts you can compare the flows to determine which downspouts are potentially clogged.

CLICK HERE for more information on Clogged Downspouts.

CLICK HERE for our Gutter Repair Guide

Water Leak/Over Flow

The third most tell tale sign that your gutters probably need to be cleaned is when you have water leaking from joints and/or seams, or when water is overflowing over the tops of the gutters.

Whenever you have water visibly leaking from the seams it could be a bad seal, but most of the times it is due to a clog in the downspout. All that water has to go somewhere, so it will escape from every crack it can find in your gutter system. Especially near the downspout or on the downspout itself.

overflowing gutters

Water overflowing could also be caused by an assortment of issues, but most often it is due to clogs in the downspouts or debris piled up over the downspout outlet. When there are piles of leaves in the gutter, the water can flow right over them and without going in the gutter.


No matter what region you live in, or how early it freezes over in your area, the general rule of thumb is to clean your gutters after all or the majority of the leaves has fallen from the trees around your home. Every year the weather patterns seem to change. Last year in 2019 the leaves hadn’t completely fallen around our area until Mid-December. However this year in 2020 we are much ahead of schedule compared to last year. The leaves should all drop by the end of November.

We suggest waiting as long as possible but to be ahead of the falling temperatures. If it is below 40 degrees than the debris will be harder to remove. When the temperatures dip below 32 degrees, than the debris will freeze together and is almost impossible to clean without damaging the gutters. Aim for when the temperatures are between 40-50 degrees still to ensure that the debris isn’t frozen when attempting to remove it.

For more information on “how often you should clean your guttersCLICK HERE


Whether you clean the gutters yourself or you hire a company to provide the service for you, getting on a yearly schedule is the way to go. Setting up your home for yearly gutter cleanings is a sigh of relief. All you have to do is figure out the optimum times for your home, and then set the gutter cleanings to repeat for the same time every year. Even if you do it yourself, you should still mark your calendar for the same time periods every year.

For example lets say you clean the gutters every December, but you clean your gutters in October one year. Well the leaves still haven’t dropped so now your gutters will be clogged from December all the way through till the next December.

The idea here is to figure out the best schedule to get on, and stick to it. That way it leaves no room for errors.

For more information on Yearly Gutter Cleaning Services CLICK HERE


Homes that have gutter covers will not need as many gutter cleaning services as a home without covers in the same neighborhood. Most styles of gutter guards will prevent larger debris from going in the gutters. The only thing that gets through is smaller particles, shingle grit, and maybe pine needles. All of these smaller types of debris easily flush out of your gutters every time it rains. Therefore, there is no chance of the gutters becoming clogged if you have properly installed gutter covers.

It should be noted that no gutter cover is perfect or full proof. The debris will still settle on top of the gutters in some areas. Especially places where the wind can’t reach or under roofing valleys. Somebody will need to manually remove these debris piles once they start to cause the water to cascade over the gutter.

Some homeowners are even able to spray the excess debris off of their gutter covers by using a garden hose with a decent nozzle. If your roof is low enough that you are able to do this, you won’t need anybody to come clean your gutters anymore.

For more information on gutter covers and gutter helmets CLICK HERE


This is a popular question we get from home owners who live in a wooded lot or their home is surrounded by trees. Sometimes one fall gutter cleaning is not enough. Leaves start to drop in October and most people try to wait until after they all drop for the cleaning, which could be as late as mid December. But, what happens if your gutters are already clogged by the end of October and your trees still have a bunch of leaves on them?

If your one of those people, you may want to consider setting up two Fall gutter cleanings. To get the most out of both, we would suggest the beginning of November to get the first wave taken care of. This should have your gutters free and clear up until the rest of the leaves fall. Then for the second cleaning, you’ll need to wait as long as possible but before the freezing temperatures set in. This way you know that there is nothing in your gutters going into the winter.


Timing your fall gutter cleaning services to the most optimal times of the year will save you time and money. You save time by not having to do extra cleanings when they aren’t needed, and you save money by not having to repair a damaged gutter system or your home.

For information on Spring Gutter Cleaning CLICK HERE

Check out some of our related articles!

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My Gutter Pro

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Frederick, MD 21701

(973) 852-6987

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15 Responses

  1. Thanks for the reminder that gutters will need drain cleaning from time to time because they might start failing without it. I’d like to look for services like that in my city soon. My gutter is already old so I’m sure that it will need constant maintenance from now on.

    1. Alice,

      No problem! The best thing you can do is keep an eye on your downspout flow during heavy rain.
      If the water is flowing normally and there are no leaks or overflows, then everything is good.
      But if the downspouts ever not flow then you have some clogs.
      Let us know if you ever have any questions and thanks again.
      My Gutter Pro

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