For many homeowners, cleaning the gutters is no welcome task. It’s also an easy one to put off, since any gathered debris in those gutters are out-of-sight and thus easily put out-of-mind. Wait too long, however, and you risk clogging which can cause damage to the roof, pooling water around your foundation, and even basement flooding.
Check out these tips on how to clean your gutters safely and effectively.
Dive In During Dry Days
Soggy debris is heavy and tends to cling to the walls of the gutter. If possible, put off cleaning your gutters until you’ve had a couple of dry days in a row so that the debris is easier to remove.
Use A Sturdy Step-Ladder On A Level Surface
Make sure you have a ladder tall enough for you to reach the gutters when you’re standing two steps from the top of the ladder. For safety’s sake, that ladder should be on a solid and even surface so it doesn’t wobble. Set up your ladder-top work station by hanging a bucket for debris.
If you’re not comfortable on a ladder, or if you have gutters that would require a very high extension ladder, you may want to consider hiring a professional to take care of the job.
Protect Your Hands
Though your gutters may be filled with nothing more dangerous than grit, soil, and dried leaves, it’s always a good idea to wear sturdy work gloves. Broken branches can scrape your skin, pine needles can pinch and stick, and you never know what kind of critters you may unearth if your gutters haven’t been tended to in a while.
Work Backward From The Downspout
To avoid inadvertently pushing more debris into the downspout, start your gutter cleaning in that area. Work backwards until the length of the gutter is clean of large debris.
Flush Thoroughly And Check For Clogs
After the big clumps are gone, take a hose and flush the gutter from the far end toward the downspout. Watch the bottom end of the downspout to see if water flow is impeded. If your downspout continues to underground piping, you may have to remove the bottom piece to check for proper flow.
Up-Flush To Remove Clogs
If there appears to be a clog in the downspout, turn the water on high and work your hose up from the bottom end of the downspout to unclog it.
While you’re cleaning the gutters, it’s always a good idea to check for leaks as well as places where the gutter may have come loose from the roof. Tightening a few screws, replacing a bracket, and a little work with gutter sealant might be all that’s needed to get your gutters in shape for another season.