Keep gutters and downspouts working hard to protect your house from water damage. Clean leaves, sticks and pine needles from gutters. Scoop up the debris with a gloved hand and add it to the compost. Also, if you need to replace the gutter, choose steel over aluminum or vinyl. Aluminum expands when the weather gets hot and contracts when it gets cold, causing nails and screws to weaken. Vinyl gutters usually come in 10-foot lengths, so there are lots of seams that could leak.