There are good reasons to stay on a regular schedule of cleaning your gutters. Clogged gutters cause a variety of problems, from rotting fascia to foundation erosion. Climbing up on a ladder a few times a year to scoop out the gutters is an unpleasant but necessary task. Here are the basic steps to clean gutters and some ways to make it easier.
Supplies to Clean Gutters
The main tools you’ll need to clean gutters are an extendable ladder, heavy-duty work gloves, a bucket or tarp, a plumbing snake, and a garden hose. You can find scoops specifically made for clearing out gutters, but a simple garden trowel works well too. Some people prefer to just use their gloved hands.
Cleaning gutters is a messy job, so it is important to wear protective gear like goggles and long sleeves. You may even want to protect your face with a mask if the material clogging up the gutters is wet. The leaves, dirt, water, and animal droppings that collect in your gutters turn into a nasty mixture that is full of bacteria.
The Process to Clean Gutters
The process of cleaning gutters is simple in theory but can be time-consuming, especially if your home has many stories. In some cases, you may be better off hiring a gutter cleaning company to save yourself the trouble and potential risks. If you choose to do it yourself, the steps are:
- Extend the ladder and place it against the house at a safe angle.
- Climb the ladder and scoop out the gutters as far as you can safely reach.
- Place the debris in the bucket which is hooked to the top of the ladder, or toss it onto a tarp down below.
- Climb down the ladder and move it to the next section.
- Repeat these steps until the entire perimeter of guttering is clear.
- Clear out the downspouts, using a plumbing snake for stubborn clogs.
- Spray out the gutters with the garden hose, making sure the water runs out the bottom of the downspout.
Safety should be the first priority when cleaning your gutters. Never clean your gutters if you are the only person home. Ideally, you’ll also have someone to spot the ladder for you. Clean the gutters on a nice day when it is not rainy or windy outside. Wear rubber-soled, non-slip shoes so that you can solidly stand on a ladder. As mentioned before, if you’re not comfortable performing this task, hire professionals.
One tried-and-true method to help cut down on how often you have to clean your gutters is to install gutter guards. These coverings let water through but catch larger debris to keep it from clogging the gutters. You’ll still need to clean your gutters occasionally, but the gutter guards will cut down on how often, If you have a lot of trees surrounding your house, gutter guards are a must.