PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Fall is here and the falling leaves may be fun for the kids, but they can wreak havoc on your home’s gutters.

If you don’t like the twice-yearly chore of climbing a ladder and clearing the gutters yourself, a gutter guard system may help.

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Cleaning the gutters is a messy – and potentially dangerous – job, but putting it off too long can lead to clogs that cause your gutters to overflow, which leads to even more problems.

“It’s washing away mulch, it’s causing water to get in your basement and into the crawl space, so that’s usually the time when we get calls where people have woken up in the middle of the night and the sump pump is running, running, running and they realize they’ve got water coming in,” said gutter cover professional Gerry Murray.

To keep the water out, you need to keep leaves and debris from getting in. Low-cost products like pre-cut foam or whisker brushes can be easily installed and work for a while, but a professionally installed system can dramatically reduce debris and last for up to 20 years.

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“It just fits right in the gutter. It’s got a patented z-bend, we call it, on the back that lays against that hanger. We squeeze it, pop it in and it creates quite a bit of camber – or bow – so it doesn’t just sit flat,” Murray said.

“While installing gutter covers won’t eliminate the need to clean your gutter guards entirely, they will reduce the number of times you have to clean them and also make it quicker and easier,” said Angie’s List founder, Angie Hicks.

Professionally installed systems cost anywhere from five dollars-per-foot for a basic cover to as much as twenty dollars-per-foot for a micro-mesh system that’s designed to handle almost any debris.

“I’ve had a hard time every year cleaning out the leaves and getting the gutters clear, and putting the covers on has really helped that,” said homeowner Sam Brummett.

Experts say the price to install mid-range gutter guards on the average home runs from 15-hundred to two thousand dollars. A steeply pitched roof or a lot of corners could add to that cost.

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Angie recommends asking your contractor about installing different systems on your home if you have trees only on one side – a basic system where there are few trees and a high-end one for the other side.