Is cleaning your gutters on your to-do list this weekend? Fall is an important time to tackle this as dead leaves and other debris accumulate in your gutters and downspouts. Keeping gutters clear of debris helps to prevent the damage that can occur to your home and landscaping from water runoff. While you can certainly hire someone to clean your gutters, it’s also a task you can complete yourself. If you’re ready to clean your gutters, then here’s what you need to know to do it right the first time.
You should wear the proper gear when you’re cleaning your gutters. Wear a long-sleeved shirt as well as work pants. Remember – you’re probably going to get dirty. And some of the things you remove from your gutters could harm sensitive skin. So use a pair of rubber gloves to protect your hands.
Use a sturdy ladder
When you clean your gutters, you’re going to need a sturdy and extendable ladder. Make sure to place the ladder on an even service. If possible, have another person nearby who can help to stabilize the ladder. Practice ladder safety by never climbing above the second-to-last rung or extending your reach. If you feel uncomfortable on a ladder, then you should consider having a professional do the job.
Cleaning the gutters
Try to time your cleaning so that it is a few days after it rains. This allows debris to dry out, making it easier to remove. Start by removing debris near the downspout, then work toward the opposite end. You can put the debris you remove in a bucket or lay a tarp on the ground beneath you to catch the debris. Use your hands or a gutter scoop to remove compacted debris. Once all the debris has been removed, flush the gutters and downspouts with a garden hose. Start at the far end and work toward the downspout. Avoid spraying under the roof shingles. This will remove any remaining debris. It will also alert you to any cracks or leaks in the gutters.
If the water isn’t flushing quickly out of your downspouts, then they may be clogged. Try to dislodge the clog by spraying directly down the spout at full pressure. If this does not work, then feed the hose into the downspout from the ground and try again. If this also fails to work, then try using a plumber’s snake to release the clog.
Check for damages and make repairs
As you clean the gutters, check for damages. This could include cracks or leaks in the gutters or downspouts or sagging gutters. Fortunately, many gutter repairs are easy to complete. If your gutters are sagging or don’t slope properly, detach them from the hangers and adjust. Seal leaks or cracks with gutter sealant following the instructions on the label. If you want to take the extra step, then consider pressure-washing the outside of the gutters to remove dirt and mildew. Then touch up the paint, if needed.
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