With leaves beginning to fall, it’s time to consider gutter maintenance. Leaves and other dirt and debris can collect in your home’s gutters, which can cause severe and costly issues over time. The best way to prolong the life of your gutters and prevent damage is to set a cleaning schedule and stick to it! So, when is the best time to perform necessary maintenance on your home’s gutters? You should take the time to assess the damage, clean, and perform necessary maintenance twice a year, once in the spring and again after the last leaves have fallen between autumn and winter.
Pine trees over your house? Consider cleaning every three months.
Maintaining the integrity of your home relies on keeping water as far away as possible. Seeping water causes degeneration of vital structures and mold and mildew development. Keeping your gutters free of debris is your first line of defense against the headaches of costly home repair.
In warm weather, standing water in clogged gutters can also attract pests. Mosquitoes are attracted to stagnant water for breeding. Removing mosquito breeding grounds from your property protects you and your family from itching bites and the potential for illnesses.
Removing leaves and debris from your gutters will prevent them from taking on excessive weight, which causes them to pull away from your home. This becomes a danger to the people walking beneath them and the roof and siding of your home. Sagging gutters need to be securely fixed to the structure.
Best Practices for Gutter Cleaning
Here, we’ll teach you how to properly remove debris from your gutter and prevent future clogs and issues.
- Wear Gloves – Wearing hand protection is often overlooked when gutter cleaning. Still, it is a critical safety component when considering all the sharp and hazardous debris you encounter when tending to your home’s gutter system. Find a reliable pair of solid and durable gloves that can outlast your home improvement projects. Avoid leather or cotton gloves; they may be comfortable, but they are not designed for heavy housework and can get ruined when wet.
- Use a scoop – Use a small scoop or garden spade to reach down and remove the debris. Don’t just push the debris to the downspout; work to remove it.
- Wear protective eyewear – Most people don’t consider this. Still, when cleaning a gutter, you risk having random objects fly at your face, especially if using a portable leaf blower to remove debris from your gutters. It’s imperative, when gutter cleaning, that you wear protective eyeglasses or goggles to prevent a tragic accident from occurring.
- Inspect for leaks and other problems – Checking your gutters regularly for any damage they may have sustained is a great way to stay on top of repairs; this includes sealing any leaks or holes in the seams and joints.
- Check downspouts – An integral part of your gutter system is the downspout. Clear them of debris and leaves and ensure the joints fit together properly. When testing for leaks, notice the water running through the downspout to ensure it runs AWAY from your home.
If You’re Comfortable Using A Ladder…
Not all homeowners are comfortable scaling a ladder to get an up-close view of their gutter system. If you are, cleaning your gutters will require an extension ladder, a pair of gloves, a small scooping tool (such as a garden spade), a long hose, and patience.
Select a sturdy and well-balanced industrially manufactured (if possible) ladder to complete your next gutter cleaning job. Avoid fiberglass or wooden ladders; they are not worthwhile in the sturdiness category. Choose a four-legged ladder if you’re working on a one-story structure and an extension ladder for anything taller.
Always have a Spotter!
Gutter cleaning exposes homeowners to many hazards – falling, hazardous objects, being overwhelmed with work, etc. Have an extra set of eyes monitoring the situation. Ask a dependable person to be your spotter and keep an eye on you while climbing the ladder or foraging through the debris clogged in your gutter system. Ideally, gutter cleaning is not a one-person job, and seeking help can give you a sense of safety and help you finish the job faster.
Of course, make sure your ladder is placed on level ground and doesn’t shake from side to side as you climb. Once you’re positioned with an aerial view of your gutter, begin clearing any leaves, rocks, or roof shingles that pose a clog threat. Most items can be removed by hand, though you may need a small scoop to help with dirt clods.
Once your gutters are free of large debris, retrieve your hose. Place your thumb over the hose to create some pressure and spray in each direction. Pay attention to places where water pools inside your gutter. If the water isn’t flowing downward toward your downspout(s), your gutter may be sagging. If your gutter is sagging, identify the place that needs lifting, secure it to your home, and place a supportive bracket.
If you’re NOT comfortable using a ladder…
If you have exceptionally high gutters or you aren’t comfortable scaling a ladder, there are tools you can use to help you clear your gutters of debris.
There are a variety of extendable gutter washers on the market that shoot high-pressure water streams in both directions, pushing out leaves and other debris. They are designed to curve over the edge of your gutter for easy use from the ground. Of course, these may not be able to move things like rocks or shingles.
If you have a shop vac (a good investment for any homeowner), you can purchase long, curved hose attachments that will suck both wet and dry debris from your gutter systems.
If one of these options sounds appealing to you, there’s no shame in calling a gutter maintenance professional to clean, repair, and protect your gutters.
Consider Semiannual Gutter Cleaning Services
One way to manage your gutter cleaning and reduce your workload is to schedule gutter cleaning services twice a year. Once in the fall and once in the spring. Regularly scheduled gutter cleaning helps to eliminate the chances of water damage from rainwater runoff, a common problem often caused by a clogged gutter system. Another reason for regulatory gutter cleaning is to prevent rust corrosion, often generated by the debris plugged inside the gutters.
Preventing Future Clogs In Your Gutter System
Most homeowners have open gutters that expose their systems to the onslaught of leaves and debris. However, add-ons like grates and protective shields can help minimize the chances of your gutters clogging.
If your gutter system is old, sagging, or cracked, it may be time for a complete overhaul. If it’s in your budget, we can offer you the newest, most protective gutter systems that will make gutter cleaning a worry of the past. We provide a couple of different solutions to help prevent clogged gutters:
- 6″ Gutters – Upgrade your home’s gutters from 5″ to 6″ to provide more room for leaves and debris to flow freely.
- Gutter Guards – Choose from solid covers, slide-in screens, and other patented gutter protection systems that allow water to run off your roof while letting leaves fall.
If you need help, feel free to give us a call or drop us a line! We can come out and fully inspect your gutters to ensure there aren’t any issues.