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How To Clean GuttersFebruary 24th, 2023 by
Cleaning gutters is an essential part of home maintenance that should not be neglected. Clogged rain gutters can cause serious damage to your home’s foundation and interior, so it is important to keep them clear of dirt and debris. Fortunately, there are several ways to get the job done safely and efficiently. With the right tools and a bit of know-how, you can easily learn how to clean gutters without having to climb up a ladder.
How Do You Clean Gutters?
Cleaning your gutters is a necessary part of home maintenance, but it can be a daunting task. Fortunately, with the right tools and knowledge, you can easily clean your gutters yourself. Here are the steps to follow:
1. Collect Supplies and Tools
You’ll need a few materials to effectively clean your gutters. Start by getting a tall ladder so you can reach your gutters. When cleaning, you’ll need a gutter scoop or towel and a small scrub brush.
Additionally, you’ll need a bucket to store the debris and a long hose for rinsing them away. A power washer is an optional but helpful tool when cleaning behind gutters and downspouts.
For downspout clogs, use a wire hanger on a long pole. For repairing gutter leaks, you’ll need painters tape and exterior caulk.
We strongly recommend wearing protective gear such as safety glasses, gloves, pants, long sleeves, and sturdy work boots for your safety.
2. Place the Ladder Safely
With the ladder pointed up into the air, carefully extend it so it is taller than your roof line. Then lean it gently against your house and test that it is stable. The ladder should go passed the gutters by at least two feet when leaning against the house.
Place the gutter scoop in the bucket and carefully climb to the top to start cleaning. Have someone on the ground hold the bottom of the ladder for added safety. Put the bucket on the roof above the ladder to make disposing of leaves easier.
3. Remove Leaves and Debris
Use your gloved hand to scoop out loose leaves and other debris. Then scrap out caked-on debris using either a gutter scoop or a garden trowel. If necessary, uses a scrub brush to loosen dirt or compacted leaves.
To avoid overreaching and potentially falling, only clean a few feet on either side of the ladder. Once that section is clean, climb down the ladder and move it a few feet over. Continue to repeat the process until all of the gutters are clean.
4. Clean Out the Downspouts
Next, check the downspouts for clogs and debris. Some may have mesh covers to keep leaves out, so remove that first.
Scrub the mesh with a scrub brush until it is clean. If it is extremely clogged, soak it in warm water for an hour and scrub it again.
Then use a straightened-out wire coat hanger to fish out downspout clogs. Tape the hanger to the end of a long pole for added reach.
You can also use a powerwasher to clean downspout clogs. Remember to spray down from above and up from below for the best results.
5. Rinse Gutters with Water
Then rinse the gutters with fresh water. You can use a garden hose with a spray nozzle while standing on the ladder. However, using a pressure water is more effective.
If you use a pressure washer, climb up the ladder and sit on the roof. Then angle the washer nozzle down into the gutters. This is more stable and limits the risk of falling or injury.
6. Look for Leaks
Once the gutters are clean, you need to look for signs of damage or water leaks. Run your garden hose up to the roof. Turn it on and let the water run for a minute or two.
While standing on the ground, walk around your gutters and look for drips, leaks, or other issues. Mark spots of painters tape for repair.
Depending on the size and shape of your roof, you will probably need to reposition the hose several times to check all of your gutters.
Once you have marked all the trouble spots, seal cracks or gaps with exterior caulk. Always apply the caulk to the outside of the gutter. Putting it inside creates a spot for leaves and dirt to build up.
How Often Do You Need To Clean Your Gutters?
How often you need to clean your gutters depends on the number of trees around your home. If you have a lot of trees, then it’s best to clean your gutters at least twice a year. In the spring, after the leaves have fallen, and in the fall before winter sets in. However, once a year is usually enough if you don’t have many trees near your house.
Other Options To Consider Besides Gutter Cleaning
Besides cleaning gutters yourself, there are a few options to consider. Often the most popular option is to install gutter covers or guards.
There are many different gutter protection systems on the market. While they all work slightly differently, the all basically work the same. There is a cover over that gutter that only allows water inside or they are lined with a porous mesh. In either case, they block out leaves and debris while still allowing water to flow through your gutters.
Alternatively, you can hire a professional gutter cleaning service. Although this is still technically cleaning, it saves you the hassle and risk of needing to climb up on your roof once or twice a year.
Lastly, you can also cut back trees around your home or even remove them entirely. Depending on the size of the tree, this can be expensive, but it will limit the number of leaves that fall into your gutters.
When Should You Hire a Professional?
In most cases, you can clean your gutters yourself in less than an afternoon. But there are still times when hiring a professional gutter cleaning company is worth it.
For example, if you do not have a tall enough ladder or you don’t feel safe climbing up on your roof. The same is true if you have a really tall roof or there are a large number of roof edges downspout connections.
It’s also worth considering your time. If you have a lot of trees in your area, you might need to clean them several times a year. In this case, hiring a professional to clean your gutters and install a protection system could save you a significant amount of time every year.
Lastly, most experts will also inspect both the gutters and your roof edge for damage. This type of preventive maintenance can save you potentially thousands on water damage or mold problems in the future.
Tired of cleaning your gutters? Let one of our prescreened and fully licensed and insured gutter cleaning professionals help today. Just enter your zip code and choose a qualified pro in your area.
Plus, when you use one of our verified experts, you get added protection from our Best Pick Guarantee. If you are not completely satisfied with their service, we will refund you up to $2,500.