Preventing gutters from being clogged is more important than some people may realize. Over the years, there have been a number of products to help prevent the buildup of leaves and other debris in gutters. Gutter filters are one type of gutter protection. A gutter filter works differently than installing gutter mesh or a gutter guard. These filters fit right into gutters and are usually made of spongy, porous material; sometimes they resemble brushes. Gutter filters are designed to allow water to pass into the gutters while keeping debris out.
Gutters provide external drainage for a home, and diverting water away from a home can keep water from pouring off of the roof and causing extensive damage to foundations. Gutters also can help prevent flooding and water damage in a home when they're kept clean. Clogged gutters and downspouts can become filled with water, causing water to spill over the sides or to create heavy pools, which can cause the gutter to come crashing down.
A foam gutter filter is usually made from a porous, spongy plastic material. The foam filters are designed to fit a variety of different gutter sizes and shapes. Once inserted into the gutter, many of these filters expand. Most of the gutter filters made from foam are resistant to damage from UV rays, and many contain an antibacterial to help prevent the growth of mold, mildew, and fungus. Some of these filters are flat on top, while others have a dome shape to help leaves, twigs, and other debris slide off easily.
Wire brush gutter filters work in the same manner as foam gutter filters. They allow water to flow freely into the gutters, but the are designed to keep debris out. Any leaves or twigs that become stuck in the bristles will usually blow away. Many of these brush filters resemble large pipe cleaners with metal or plastic bristles. They typically come in 1- to 4-foot (0.3- to 1.2-meter) sections, and they are inserted into the gutter.
Typically, installing a gutter filter system is much easier than installing other types of gutter protection. There are usually no special tools required for putting in these types of filters. They almost always fit easily down into a gutter, and then are cut to fit for length.
Some small debris may still get stuck in a gutter filter. For optimal performance, manufacturers recommend that they be taken out and cleaned every couple of years to prevent buildup. This should be relatively easy, and it involves removing each section of the gutter filter and shaking it out. It can then be washed off with a garden hose to clean off any remaining debris.