It's cold and rainy here on the West Coast (often referred to as the Wet Coast in winter!) and the idea of cleaning gutters is less than appealing. However, unless they're properly cleaned and maintained, clogged gutters can cause damage to your home. You're likely up there on a ladder hanging Christmas lights anyway, so take a look at the gutters and do the needful to avoid problems like the following:
Damage to Building's Foundation
Gutters are meant to help keep water away from the foundation of your house. If water doesn't follow the right path, it could end up pooling close to walls and travel down into your crawlspace or through basement walls. And that's never a good scenario. .
Debris in clogged gutters attracts birds, insects and rodents. Wood fascia boards and roof materials will rot if left sitting in pooled water. Birds like woodpeckers love to eat insects in rotted wood and will make holes in walls and the roof to get at them
Seeds from plants and nearby trees will sprout in the accumulated dirt and debris in gutters. The extra weight
will further weaken and damage your gutters and roofing system.
Ice damming is the back-up of water against the roof, lifting shingles and other roofing materials, damaging both the roof and interior ceilings and walls by pushing up inside. In most cases this occurs during cold weather where pooled water in gutters is further blocked by partially freezing. The worst case scenario is peeling paint, rotting insulation and wood and possibly the growth of mold inside your building.
So, by all means, clean those gutters. Once they're cleaned of debris, flush them with water from the hose to make sure they're flowing freely and working properly. If you don't already have them in place, install splash pads where downspouts meet the ground to keep water away from your foundation.
If you don't want to clean those gutters yourself, there are lots of companies who can do the job for you. Just make sure they have insurance for both their Worker's Compensation and Liability. Call me if you'd like some names of reputable firms to chose from.