Regardless of what type of gutter system you choose, gutters and roofs need maintenance. If you have open rain gutters, they should be cleaned at least twice a year: in the Spring after trees bud, dropping flowers acorns, and seed pods; and in the fall after they drop their leaves. Depending on weather conditions where you live, an additional cleaning or two may also be necessary.
If you also have a low-sloped roof, even a leaf protection system cannot prevent debris from accumulating on your roof, so with or without a leaf protection system, roof maintenance is required. A simple cleaning with a broom or blower is all that is necessary. Plus, loose debris accumulating on the roof is a fire hazard and is extremely bad for the roof, accelerating wear and backing water up under the shingles.
However, cleaning out your gutters and brushing debris from your roof, though an important task, is not an easy one. Climbing and moving ladders and working several feet off the ground can be dangerous. It requires strength and agility to maintain your personal safety, as well as climbing protection systems or devices. If you cannot do this safely, call a contractor or install a system that offers leaf protection. (see our section on Gutter Guards, Gutter Covers and Gutter Screens).