The gutter in your house not only protects the siding and landscaping but also prevents damage to the foundation. Once the gutters end up with leaves, sticks, and other materials, it can result in a blockage. A clog will cause the water to overflow to the house’s sides and, often, into the foundation. For those who reside in areas with freezing winters, a blockage in the gutter can lead to ice dams. With this in mind, cleaning your gutters is essential, especially in the fall.
As part of regular maintenance for your gutters, you should clean them at least twice a year. If trees are present in your yard, you should do it often and after intense storms.
Let us check out several gutter cleaning tips for beginners here.
- Schedule Yearly Cleanings
If you have guttering made of cast iron, you should clean them at least two times a year – ideally in the fall and spring. The main reason why you must clean the guttering is to prevent water damage from runoff due to a blockage. Another reason is to lessen the likelihood of rust corrosion. The presence of debris can hasten the rusting process.
- Observe Ladder Safety
When cleaning the gutters, always inform someone that you are using a ladder. Use a sturdy and safe ladder, ideally one with a small shelf capable of supporting a five-gallon bucket to collect debris. You can use a fiberglass or aluminum ladder as the sturdy options.
- Proper Protection
Before cleaning the gutters, make sure that you have the proper protective gear for safety reasons.
- Wear thick, suede gloves to protect against dirty, rotting debris with squirrel or bird droppings containing bacteria. Gloves also prevent cuts from any torn metal shards, especially on old gutters.
- When cleaning gutters, eye protection is essential since you never know what might fly out of the downspout. Some experience surprise encounters with frogs, birds, rats, and bees when removing a clog.
- If you have to walk on the roof, you should wear rubber-soled shoes. The rubber soles adhere best and prevent slips. The best time to walk on the roof is after the sun is up in the sky. At this point, all the moisture has dried up. Early afternoons or late mornings are the ideal times to work on the roof.
- Using A Garden Hose
As part of the flushing process, use a hose with a pistol-grip spray nozzle. When using this form of nozzle, you can control the water pressure with a single hand.
- Using A Gutter Scoop
When cleaning out your gutters, you can make the task easier by using a gutter scoop to remove the debris. Any plastic scooping tool will work, which you can find at most hardware stores. The device has a thin front edge and forms nicely into the gutter trough base, making it easy to scoop out all debris. Avoid those made of metal since it can damage or scratch the seams and bottom of the gutter.
- Clean Off The Roof
Before cleaning out the gutters, you should rake or power wash all debris from the roof first. If not, the next rain will wash them all down into the clean gutters, clogging it up again. Any debris on the roof can cause water to accumulate, especially around the chimney, ventilation, and air conditioning equipment. Over time, they can cause erosion and roof leaks.
- Unclog The Downspouts
As part of gutter maintenance, inspect the downspouts for any blockage. After cleaning the gutters, flush water down the downspout at full pressure. If the water flows up out of the top, a jam is present.
In most cases, you can deal with the blockage by tapping on the side of the downspout. If this fails, you have to remove the downspout and flush it from the bottom. If there is a clog and the downspout connects to an underground drain, you should disconnect the bottom of the downspout first to prevent the clog from moving into the underground drain.
- Power Line Hazards
When cleaning gutters close to a power line cable, you should visually assess where it links to the roof. The purpose is to ensure that the protective wire insulation is still present. If the cable shows signs of damage, do not attempt to fix it. Call a professional electrician to perform the appropriate repairs.
If there is an electrical wire issue and it is raining, do not clean the gutters. Wait until a professional perform the necessary repairs. It is important to note that water is a good conductor of electricity.
- Invest In Gutter Guards
Gutter guards are a great option to prevent debris from accumulating in the gutters. Make sure that you will select one that works best in keeping out leaves and other debris effectively.
Gutter maintenance is the responsibility of every homeowner. Proper care of the guttering in your house with the help of these tips will ensure that they stay in good shape and last for many years.