ANGIE'S LIST: Cleaning gutters saves money in the long run

Replacement costs much more than cleaning

INDIANAPOLIS - Gutting gutters is no fun, but it's an autumn job most homeowners must take care of.

Leaf guards, covers and screens can help, but experts say 20 percent of yard debris can weasel its way through.

Jeremy Mitchell said he learned his lesson the hard way after leaving sticks and leaves in his gutters.

"Over time, (it) has damaged the gutters to the point where they actually started to sag," he said. "I mean, cleaning is probably the biggest thing we do, we almost can't do enough in this house."

If cleaning gutters the DIY way seems like too much to bear, call a pro.

Contractors should remove all leaves and other debris from the roof, gutters and downspouts, and look for any signs that repairs might be needed.

"If debris in the gutters is dry, we can take a blower, like you would use to blow leaves in the yard, and blow the excess out of the gutter," said roofing contractor Paul Hoolahan.

He said if the gutter debris is wet, he'll remove it by hand.

"The cost to clean your gutters can range anywhere from about $75 to around $200, depending on the size of your house and the number of stories you have in your home," said Angie Hicks, with Angie's List.

Replacement can cost up to $2,000, so it pays off to care for gutters year after year.

Hoolahan said, on average, homeowners should clean their gutters twice a year.

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