Gutters are constantly exposed to natural elements, such as rain, snow, and wind. They are a big part of your home’s roofing and plumbing system, and protect your building from excessive moisture that falls out of the sky. Channeling water down a secure system also protects your windows, doors, siding, basement, and foundations from water damage.
Gutters and downspouts must be cleared of leaves and other loose debris several times a year. Hire someone if you do not have the time to complete the work. That will cost less than having to pay for building repairs.
The preferred times for gutter cleaning are late spring and fall. Clean the system more often in years with many days of bad, windy weather conditions.
Collect Your Cleaning Supplies
Make a list of all the things you need for this job. Borrow the tools you are missing from a neighbor, relative, or good friend. Amass a sturdy extension ladder, a long garden hose, a narrow hand spade, quality garbage bags or a bucket to hold the debris collected from the gutters.
It is also good to have a plumber’s snake handy to loosen stubborn materials. Work gloves keep your hands from getting hurt.
Scoop Out Debris
Tree leaves, twigs, bird droppings, paper snips, and other debris that can be carried by wind ends up in your home’s gutters. Start at the drain outlet or building corner working away from the drain outlet. Use a narrow garden trowel to scoop out the rubbish. Try to do this when the debris is slightly damp.
Working with overly soggy or dried, encrusted material is much harder. Put the debris in a pail or plastic bag. Throw it into a composter once the job is done. If you are not into gardening, find someone who is. It is better this way than to fill up our waste disposal sites with natural materials that could actually be used to nurture our planet’s depleting soil.
Pull Out the Garden Hose
Make sure that you have a garden hose long enough to reach the top of your building from all angles. Attach a high-pressure nozzle at the end of the water hose. Clean out the gutter, spraying toward the drain outlet.
Wear water-protective clothing, as this can be a messy, wet job. Move the ladder frequently instead of blasting the water all over. If the mud splashes over the building, you may have to pressure-wash the walls afterwards to keep your home’s clean appearance intact. Use a stiff scrub brush to remove remaining, encrusted dirt.
Water pressure may not remove all the debris in your gutters. You will have to take some of it out by hand. Larger pieces that flushed down the drain pipes can get stuck.
Use a plumber’s auger to remove those items that will not budge when blasted by water. The drain snake can be used from the top or bottom of your drain pipe.
Do It Right
Schedule lots of time for this job. Leaving some of the debris behind for the next time is just asking for trouble. You will have nobody else to blame but yourself when you need to call a plumbing company because of water damage.