Clogged gutters can create quite a headache. When water can’t properly flow from your roof, your house and it’s foundation could be looking at some major repair work.
Gutters divert water away from your house, creating less chance of damage to your home and it’s foundation. This makes keeping your gutters clean so vital, something that should be done twice per year.
What You Need to Clean Your Gutters
First, before you begin cleaning, here’s what you’ll need:
- A ladder
- A hose with appropriate attachment
- Garden gloves
- Eye protection
- Plastic scooping device
- A bucket or bags
Before You Clean The Gutters, Clean the Roof
You don’t want your gutters to get dirty again right after you clean them. But that is exactly what will happen if you don’t clean off your roof first.
Before cleaning out the gutters, you will want to either rake or power wash any debris off the roof and into the gutters. This way you can easily scoop out the debris with what is already in the gutters, saving you from having to do it again after just a couple of days.
To do this safely, make sure that you wait until the late morning or early afternoon so that the morning dew has dried off your roof. You should use rubber-soled shoes to keep your stability to stay safe on the roof – prevent any slipping, or worse, falling.
Make sure your ladder is in good working order. Check for any structural defects so that the ladder is safe to climb on.
After you have made sure your ladder is ready for the job, be sure to lock it in place when opening it up (if using a step ladder). Be sure to place the ladder on firm ground so that the ladder won’t fall from under your feet.
For a step ladder, place it roughly an arms length away (1-2 ft.) from the area of the gutter you will be cleaning. Remember to never reach over while on a ladder. Step off and move the ladder as needed.
Cleaning The Gutter
After dawning your eye protection and garden gloves, start at a downspout. Using your scoop, pull the debris away from the opening of the downspout.
Using your gloved hand or your scoop, take the debris out of the gutter, putting it in to your bucket that you can have either hanging from the ladder or perched on the top platform of your step ladder (if your ladder a top platform). Repeat this down an entire length of the gutter, moving the ladder as needed to avoid reaching too far.
Once you have cleaned an entire length of the gutter, you will want to wash any small debris out the downspout. The best way to do this is with a hose attachment that controls the pressure output of the water (preferably an attachment that can be operated with just one hand).
Make sure that the water is flowing through the downspouts, removing any blockage caused by debris.
Repeat this process across all sections of your gutter.
While a bucket can work in a pinch, hung off the ladder or put on a top platform, there are a couple other options to consider.
Plastic grocery bags can be held in one hand while you are filling them up with the other. Empty bags can be easily kept in your back pocket, then tied off and thrown on the ground to be disposed of once you’re done. This will also avoid having any extra weight on the ladder.
Simply throwing the debris onto the ground is another viable option. This can get messy though, so use a tarp on the ground below. Shake off the debris into a yard waste receptacle when done.
Another Alternative to Gutter Cleaning
Cleaning your gutters is by no means a glamorous project. It’s a project in which it would be perfectly acceptable to hire a professional to do. Whether you have a professional service come to do one or both yearly cleanings, it’s a great option to consider.
Not all services are treated equally. Make sure that you know they will be professional, do an outstanding job, have courteous technicians, clean up after themselves and, most importantly, that they are insured (like us).
A Job Well Done
Whether you decide to clean the gutters yourself or hire professionals to come clean them out, you’re well armed with all the knowledge you need to clean gutters safe and effectively.
Go. Clean your gutters. Sleep soundly at night knowing that your house is now well prepared for all the water that nature provides.