Cleaning Your Gutters Is an Important Aspect of Home Maintenance
Have You Been Putting Off Cleaning Your Gutters?
If you're like the average homeowner, you put off cleaning your gutters out every year. However, cleaning the gutters and downspouts on your house will save you time and money in the long run. Water and debris can rot or rust your roof gutter troughs and clogged gutters can cause water to damage your siding, windows, doors, and in worst cases it can cause basement floods and foundation damage. There are a number of ways you can help the water from your roof run through your gutters smoothly and efficiently. Taking the time to properly clean your rain gutters or install gutter guards can help the flow of water run efficiently from your home, which saves you time, effort and money over the years.
Gutter Cleaning Tips
Gutter cleaning is tedious, time consuming and possibly dangerous, which is why most homeowners put this job off as long as they can. There are many ways that you can create a safe environment to clean your gutters out. If you live in a single-story home or if the pitch of your roof is shallow, maintaining your gutters on your own will save you hundreds of dollars each year. However, if your home is multiple stories or if the roof is steep, it's probably a better option to hire a professional to do the work. A professional gutter cleaner will cost more than doing the job yourself, but the service will be safe and thorough, especially on taller buildings.
You should clean your gutters at least twice a year. If your home is directly beneath trees, gutter cleaning will need to be done more often. Use a sturdy ladder to reach your gutters. Make sure the ladder is sitting on a flat, level surface. If your roof has a slight pitch, you can clean your gutters from the roof instead of standing on a ladder. While scooping the debris from the gutter, always wear thick gardening gloves to protect your hands from any sharp sticks in the trough or screws that might be sticking out of the gutter. The safest way to scoop debris is by using a trowel or large spoon. This will also help save your hands. Make caked-on debris easier to remove by wetting it down.
Always make sure to check the downspouts. These can easily become clogged and cause water to back up into the gutters. If there is a clog, use a plumbers snake to remove it. When unclogging the downspout, always work from the bottom. Starting at the bottom of the downspout will keep you from packing the clog in the downspout even tighter. After you have removed all of the debris from the rain gutters, flush the entire gutter system with water. Use a garden hose to check that water runs smoothly through the roof gutters and the downspouts. If there is a clog somewhere in the system, you will be able to easily spot and fix it.
Rain Gutter Protection
To help keep your gutters flowing smoothly, install gutter protection. This can be in the form of gutter screens, covers or even sponge-like products that sit inside the gutter trough and only allow water to pass through the gutter. There are several types of gutter covers available on the market and all of them will help significantly decrease the amount of debris collected in your rain gutters.
A gutter helmet or screen attaches over the actual rain gutter to help solid debris, like leaves and twigs, fall off the roof instead of collecting in the gutter. When selecting a gutter leaf guard, make sure it attaches and detaches from the gutter easily. While these gutter cover products do not eliminate all debris, they will make the job of cleaning your gutters a much quicker and easier job.