Gutters are shallow troughs under the edge roof which catch and carry away rain water. Gutters prevent rainwater running down your walls and causing damage to your home.
Gutters, collectors (also called hoppers), down pipes and drainage channels all get blocked with leaves, moss and other debris especially during autumn every year. Where accessible you should clear your rain water system because if the gutters become blocked and rain water builds up it will over flow from the sides of your gutters plus the weight of water can cause cracks, permanently deform the gutter run and dislodge down pipes by pulling out fixings. Damaged gutters and downpipes can quickly lead to overspilling reainwater causing damp to your walls and possible even structural problems.
Accessing gutters safely is important as falling from heights, possibly even onto railings, is not worth the risk so if your are not confident then get a window cleaner or gutter specialist with appropriate ladders and harnesses to clear and repair your home's gutters.
Original cast iron gutters and down pipes can add character to a home and some Georgian or Victorian buildings have beautiful decorative styles;
Cast Iron needs to be painted so if you notice rust then use a wire brush and use suitable filler and paint.
In rural locations porous materials such as stone or wood may be used but they need a non porous lining such as lead, plastic, bitumen.