Gutters need to be properly maintained in order to be effective. If they are filled with leaves, branches, and other trash, when it rains, the water will just gather in them rather than running off onto the ground, causing added weight. Rainwater left in gutters may leak down into your walls causing water damage and mold. Additionally, this may result in damaged and falling gutters.
While gutter-cleaning can be a messy difficulty, it is an absolutely vital home chore. How frequently you need to clean your gutters depends on where you live. The normal rule is two times a year, but if you live in an area that is either surrounded by a lot of trees or (and) has frequent storms, then they need to be cleaned more frequently, possibly every three or four months. It is especially important to clean your gutters in late fall to early winter, as trash in gutters can cause ice to build up in the winter.
- Make sure you have a durable ladder. Lean it against the house, but be sure not to put too much weight on the gutters, as they can be crumpled. Also, never hold on to the gutters because they can easily come apart from the roof. Never go above the top two rungs of the ladder. Move the ladder as you work so you won’t tip over the ladder trying to reach for trash.
- Use a gutter scoop, a small garden shovel or spade to scoop out the trash. There are two ways to get rid of the trash: you can put a drop cloth or tarp on the ground below you and simply drop the trash onto it, or you can hold a bucket or bag as you clean. This is to make sure your lawn stays clean and not dirty. You can simply dump the tarp or the bucket in the trash.
- After you have scooped out all of the trash, you will need to make sure the downspouts are not clogged. Using a hose with a pressure nozzle, spray down the downspout. If there are any clogs that the water cannot work out, you can use a plumber’s auger or a wire coat hanger if the clog is within reach.
- Once the downspouts are clear, use the hose to wash out any caked-on dirt in the gutters. Rinse out the entire length of the gutter, and make sure the dirty water goes down the downspout.
There are a few cautionary tips, however. Gutter cleaning can be a dangerous job which requires you to spend a lot of time on a ladder working at height. If you are not comfortable doing this, or if you have a multiple-story house, you need to consider hiring a professional to do the job.
There are thousands of ladder-related accidents per year, and professionals are experienced and trained to avoid such accidents.
Follow this advice and you will remain safe and also ensure that your gutters are spotless with winter coming.