My 4 gutter downspouts drain into pipes that run through my basement, then out the waste water line (this "french drain system" isn't allowed any more by the city, but our older 1925 house was grandfathered in). The previous owner said he snaked himself a few times per year, but I'm worried about doing damage with home-snaking and don't really want to do this. I've consulted a few gutter companies who are giving me contradicting advice. One said to install strainers over the downspouts and screens over the gutters. Another said this was a horrible idea because wet leaves will just block water from draining at all; they recommended gutter cleaning 6 times per year. I'm not sure who to believe! I live in New England, with lots of maples shedding leaves all fall. Any suggestions as to the best way to minimize the chances of these internal drainage pipes clogging up? Thanks.