How to clean gutters

February 24, 2020

Having clean gutters is essential for the integrity of your house. When it rains, all the water that hits the roof must go somewhere. As we don’t want the water to infiltrate the house foundation, we use gutters to redirect the water away from the house.

Obstructed gutters are a total nightmare for any house owner. If the water cannot go down the gutters fast, then you may end up with water infiltrating in the walls or even with a saggy foundation. To fix these issues is expensive, doing regular maintenance is less expensive and all it takes is to clean the gutters from time to time.

To assure that the gutters are in good shape, at every 2-3 months you should inspect them for obstructions. Only in the fall they require a little bit more work as leaves are the main reason why gutters clog.

Why Cleaning Your Gutters is Important?

You will find a long list of why cleaning your gutter is essentially vital in the overall quality of your home. Basically, it is designed to lead the water away from your house. It sounds a very simple task for gutters, but having it clogged will lead to complicated damages in the future. So, here are the main reasons why you should do clean your gutters regularly:

  1. Clogged gutters may be a breeding site for insects. The gutters are, most of the time, clogged with leaves, sticks, dirt, and other debris. It prevents water from flowing to its proper disposal. It also becomes a dwelling place for insects like mosquitoes, spiders, and critters. You wouldn’t want your house to be swarmed by this creepy crawlies, right?
  1. Diseases may also develop when gutters are not cleaned regularly. Having them clogged with stagnant water may start to wet or damp conditions that are, obviously, not healthy. Molds may grow in damp gutters and it may cause illnesses that are harmful to your health.
  1. Malfunctioning rain gutters may result to the destabilization of soil around your house. This may further result to weakening the foundation of the house if the soil surrounding is damaged. A deteriorated foundation will then lead to cracked walls, making the house unsafe to occupy.
  1. As water is clogged in the gutters of the house. Thus it will find its way out. If it doesn’t find a way out, it will continue to resist the blockage and will soon cause leaks inside the house. 
  1. Regular cleaning of your gutter saves you a lot of money for expenses in the repair of your house. Taking good care of the house minimizes the cost of the maintenance of the home. 

Required tools for gutter cleaning

Cleaning the gutters with your bare hands is not advisable. The following are basic gutter cleaning tools that will surely be helpful in doing the task.

  • Ladder – It important to use a ladder for leaning against a pavement when cleaning the gutter. It is important to take note of the cleaner’s weight when choosing the appropriate weight of the ladder to use. Without a ladder, you can not get on the roof to start cleaning the gutters.
  • Gloves – For safety purposes, you need to use a pair of hand gloves when doing the said task. Some debris may prick your hand while cleaning. The gloves will protect your hand from being contaminated by molds and other related bacteria presented in the blocked gutter.
  • Gutter Scoop – If you do not want to make use of your hands in cleaning the gutter, you may use a gutter scoop. The gutter scoop comes in different sizes depending on the amount of debris that you want to scoop. Take note of the size of the gutter before buying a gutter scoop to make sure that it would fit the gutter.
  • Pressure Washer – If there is too much debris that blocks the gutter, it is better to make use of a pressure washer. Greater pressure can clean better.

How to Clean the Gutters?

Here’s a step-by-step procedure on how to clean your gutter system.

  1. Prepare a sturdy and extendable ladder. Make sure that the ladder leans on a strong concrete. In cases the ground or pavement is uneven, use a ladder stabilizer. 
  1. Use appropriate clothing for the job. Take note that this is a dirty job. You may wear a long-sleeved shirt, not a loose one, rubber gloves and work pants.
  1. Remove the accumulated debris found in your gutter. You may start by removing those that can be removed by hand. If not, use a gutter scoop to collect dirt and debris blocking the flow of water from the gutter to the downspout. If a gutter scoop is not available, you may also use your kid’s play shovel or an old spatula from your own kitchen. 
  1. To avoid the junk and debris from spreading all over the place, you may spread a tarp underneath. This protects your lawn and landscape from getting damaged.
  1. Once the debris and dirt are removed from the gutter, there is still some remaining debris that needs to be flushed out. At this time, you may use a garden hose to flush the remaining debris down the waterspout. 
  1. The gutter is now completely cleaned. It is now time to check for things that need to be repaired. Clogged gutters may sag, and they really become useless. Check for nails and screws that are loose, as these may be the possible reason for the sagging of your gutter. In this condition, water will still get stuck in your gutter, and you’ll be having repeated problems and issues with your gutter system.
  1. If the gutters cannot be repaired anymore, you will need to replace it. 

Safety guide when cleaning gutters

The following are tips on how to be safe in cleaning your gutter system. 

  • Observe ladder safety. Be sure to make use of a sturdy ladder in good condition.
  • Use a garden hose in cleaning the remaining debris. It is advisable to use a pistol-grip trigger spray nozzle.
  • Protect your hand and eyes. While cleaning the gutter, use gloves to protect your hands and use eye protection like goggles.
  • Have a regular schedule of cleaning the gutters. Inform others that you are cleaning your gutter to avoid accidents.
  • Check if there are power lines near the gutter as these may hinder the task and may be hazardous for the cleaner.

As this task may be done by homeowners themselves, it is still more advisable to hire an expert to do the job for you. This is for more effective and efficient carrying out of the task.

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