By Elton Magoon
I have to clean the gutters out on my home twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall. Most of my customers fall into this same cleaning schedule, unless they have pine trees. Yes, pine trees are nice, but the needles can be a real problem.
1)Did you know Pine needles can be poisonous to cats?
2)Did you know pine needle consumption can cause cows to give birth prematurely?
3)Did you know Pine needles can cause roofing to rot prematurely? When clumps of straw stick to a roof, they can trap moisture year-round. This constant contact with moisture is bad for roofing.
If you have pine trees, you may need your gutters cleaned a lot more often, because pine needles are notorious for their clogging power. I have customers who need their gutters cleaned out every month and most of these customers have pine trees on their property.
Pine needles are gutter guard Kryptonite. I haven't seen a system that can stand up to needles for very long.
The downspouts are especially susceptible to needle clogs. Once this fibrous material gets packed into an elbow, it stays like hardened concrete. Usually the downspout has to be taken apart in order to clean it out. If this material is left unchecked in the elbows, the added weight can cause the downspout to pull away from the gutter and to fall down.
The situation is far worse if pine branches hang over the roof, allowing pine cones to drop into the gutters. It can take only a single pine cone to clog up a outlet drain!
There are two things you can do to handle pine needles. One is to cut back the branches as far back from your roof as possible. The other thing is to have a larger commercial sized downspout installed. The larger 3"X4" downspout is almost clog proof. In fact, I have never seen one clog up. Even when there's debris in the gutters, the commercial size keeps the system flowing between cleanings. If you also install a larger outlet drain, you will reduce the number of cleanings needed each year and to be clog free between these cleanings.
Have you had problems with pine needle clogs? Do you know another way to deal with needles? Do you know a strange pine needle fact?