Gutters funnel rainwater and snowmelt off of your roof and away from the foundation, so it’s important to keep them free of debris and clogs. Cleaning rain gutters is an easy home maintenance task that can usually be completed in two to four hours. If you don’t take care of your gutters, you run the risk of water damage. Read on to learn how to clean the gutters and downspouts.
Tools and Tips to Clean the Gutters
The great thing about cleaning gutters is that almost everyone can do it with only a few basic tools. The best time to tackle this project is in the early spring and again in early fall.
In the springtime, it helps prepare your home for the heavy rains that are common in spring and summer. With these rains, debris accumulates in the gutters, which is why fall is ideal for another cleaning ahead of cold weather.
Don’t begin the project right after a rainfall. Instead, let the debris dry out for a few days before cleaning the gutters.
How to Clean the Gutters Using Buckets
One easy way to clean gutters is to use buckets attached to your ladder. Put the tools you need in one bucket and use the other bucket to collect the debris you remove. Using gloved hands, scoop out leaves, sticks, and pine needles. If you encounter compacted materials, use a trowel or gutter scoop to carefully scrape it out.
Flush Gutters with Water
Once you’ve removed the debris, flush the channels with water. Use a nozzle attached to a garden hose and spray towards the downspout. It’s important to learn how to clean gutters properly. Never direct the spray upwards, towards the undersides of the shingles. This could cause roof damage and let water seep into your home.
Once your gutters are clean and clear, the water will exit the downspout effortlessly. If the water isn’t flowing, you may have a clog in the downspout. When this occurs, aim the hose directly down the downspout. If this still doesn’t work, try a pressure washer to force the debris out or call a professional.
Check for Damage
After you’ve finished cleaning the gutters and all clogs have been removed, flush the guttering system once more. This time, check carefully for leaks. Look for rusted spots that allow water to seep through. Also, check for sagging and areas where the guttering is pulling away from the house. If the gutters are detached or sagging, contact a professional to make repairs.