The purpose of rain gutters on your home is to move water away from your structure. This protects your home’s frame from mold, mildew, warping, and other damage. As rain (or melting snow) moves down your roof, it is collected in the gutter and moves to an opening at the corner, or corners, of your house. The water then flows into a downspout that (ideally) has an elbow at the bottom to direct the water away from your foundation. When the gutters fill with debris such as dirt, leaves and pine needles, the openings get clogged, the water backs up and spills over, and your home is no longer protected. Water damage can occur and ruin your roof, the fascia and eves, as well as the foundation, basement, or crawlspace. This type of damage is very costly but can be prevented.
When Do I Clean My Gutters and What Do I Need?
To keep your gutters performing optimally, clean and maintain them on a regular basis. Depending on your environment, you may need to do this twice per year, but at a minimum, do it every autumn when the leaves fall, and before the snow starts.
Plan to clean the gutters when the weather has been dry, as wet leaves can be heavy and messy. Here’s what you’ll need: a ladder, a trough, a bucket with a metal hook, a garden hose with a nozzle (or an attachment specifically for gutter-cleaning), and work gloves. We recommend a good, sturdy step ladder on level ground, if possible. For two-story homes, you will need to use an extension ladder. If you’re not comfortable with ladders or heights, then it’s best to hire someone to help.
Gutter Cleaning; How to tips
Once your ladder is in place, you’ll want to attach the bucket using the metal hook. Use this to hold the debris you remove from the gutter. You may want to use a second bucket/hook to hold your tools if you don’t have a sturdy tool belt. Start by the downspout and remove leaves and twigs. Use the trough to loosen tightly packed debris. Use the pail to hold this debris and carry it to the ground. (Tossing it into the yard creates more work.) To stay safe, don’t reach; clean the area in front of you, then move the ladder to the next section. When you’ve removed the large debris from the full length of the gutter, use your hose to flush out whatever remains, starting at the opposite side of the downspout. The water should move freely. If the water backs up, there is likely a clog in the downspout.
From the ground, snake your hose up the downspout and turn the water on full force to flush whatever is blocking the pipe. If your downspout feeds into an underground system, you’ll need to remove the bottom section of the downspout to get the hose in. Once this is clear, flush your gutter once again to ensure the water moves freely.