Gutters are often an overlooked part of your home’s exterior. They’re usually tucked away in the shadows, out of sight and out of mind.
This is especially true if you have a low-sloped roof that doesn’t require much maintenance.
However, leaving your gutters unkempt can lead to many problems. On the other side, cleaning your gutters regularly will provide you with a handful of benefits.
Gutters serve to control the flow of rainwater and are an integral part of your home’s well-being. They need to be cleaned regularly, or they can end up clogged and start overflowing.
A gutter can quickly turn from a necessity to a nightmare. Water cannot flow away from your house, and problems can arise in various locations, from your roof down to your foundation.
The most integral and efficient way to prevent your gutters from clogging is regular maintenance. It is vital to clean your gutters at least once a year and twice if you want optimal results.
The best season to clean your gutters will depend on your location, weather conditions, and the number of trees situated near your property. Here are some season based suggestions to guide you:
- Spring – Spring is typically a rainy season, and the showers can wash acceptable debris and sand from your roof into the guttering. This debris can block the drain pipes and, combined with sand and dirt, can provide the perfect habitat for seeding to take root.
- Summer – The sunny rays stimulate growth in plants and cause grass and other plants to start growing out of your gutters. With light to moderate rain, it won’t take long for the water to start overflowing.
- Autumn – With the leaves falling from nearly every tree, it is inevitable that many of them will end up on your roof and in your gutter. Add a bit of rain in the mix, and your leaves will turn into rotten mush in no time – perfect conditions for mold.
- Winter – if there are any decomposing debris in your gutters, they will slow down the flow of water from the winter rain and, in turn, freeze in the cold conditions. This will add weight to your gutter system, and if the ice is substantial, it can expand and burst your whole system.
If you have a clogged drain and don’t repair it, your home is perpetually drenched. If you don’t act promptly, rainwater can damage your property over time.
A clogged gutter is a problem that must be fixed at the first signs of trouble. If left unattended, it can lead to severe damage such as:
When leaves and other debris clog up your gutters to the point that water is flooding over, you can end up having issues with rot on your roofing.
Moreover, water will accumulate in your gutter, and your ceiling may begin to drip. This dripping will continue until the water evaporates naturally or until you drain it and repair the gutter.
Pests in the gutter
Pests love damp places that also offer them protection, but once the weather begins to cool down, they will find their way into your home. Once inside, they will start creating nests in the attic or any crawl space they can find.
Overflowing water can pool along your home foundation and can end up freezing and expanding, causing cracks in your foundation. A compromised foundation puts the whole house in danger.
The build-up of excess water will travel downwards. This will not only damage the sidings but windows as well.
This is especially dangerous if they are made of wood, as excess moisture around your windows can cause them to weaken, warp or rot.
It is only a matter of time before build-up water turns into mold. What’s worse is unless you check your gutters, you will only find out when mold starts creeping into your roof, attic, or the walls of your house.
Mold is not only expensive to remove but can be very damaging to your health. Molds are known to trigger allergies and create skin irritation.
There are 2 main ways you can clean your gutters – using a ladder or from the ground.
It’s essential to wear proper gear to keep yourself protected from debris and germs. Whether it’s a hard hat, goggles, or eye protection, puncture-resistant gloves, and coveralls when cleaning your gutter.
This method is recommended for single-story properties or bungalows. Anything higher means working at heights, and if you are not comfortable, I advise you not to attempt this job.
Keep in mind gutter cleaning is a messy job, so dress appropriately.
You will need:
- Good sturdy, extendable ladder.
- Overalls or long-sleeved shirt and rubber gloves
- A rubber spatula or a gutter scoop
- A bucket or plastic bag to put the debris in
- A garden hose
1. Placing the ladder on a sturdy surface, ensuring both feet of the ladder are firmly planted on a solid level base.
Do not place the ladder on grass or a slope as it will either sink or strike out from the bottom, causing you to fall.
You can use a ladder stabilizer for extra safety and prevent damaging the gutters. Alternatively, you can get a helper if you need a hand with the ladder or drop something.
2. Before you start cleaning out the gutters, prepare a plastic bag or a bucket to put the rubbish in.
If your gutter is full of dry leaves, twigs, etc., you can just throw them on the ground as you go. However, if you are dealing with wet sludge, you can create a big mess and extra work.
A bucket is a perfect solution, and the only downside is that it might be tricky to position it on the roof.
3. Once your ladder and bucket are secured, you can begin cleaning your gutters. When dealing with dry debris, put on your gloves. There is always a sludgy part at the gutter base.
Work small areas and not overreach as you can fall and injure yourself; move the ladder instead. When cleaning your gutter, you can either use your hands or a specialized gutter scooping tool.
A plastic spatula will do the trick as well, as it will not ruin the gutter coating. Push your scraping tool into the guttering as you scoop, being careful not to overdo it as some gutters can be fragile and break.
4. After you are happy with the cleaning result, ascend the ladder again and use a hose to wash down any remaining debris you weren’t able to scoop.
Start at the beginning of your gutter, aim your hose accordingly, so the water flows to the other end and into the downpipe.
Flushing your gutters down will also show you if there are any leaks you need to address.
If you do not own a hose, you can fill up a bucket with water and repeat the process above. Last but not least, check and clean the downpipes.
This is the more effective and time-efficient method. There are several ways to do this, such as using a high-pressure water jet that blasts all debris out or a specialized gutter hoover.
The pressure washer’s main advantage is pressurized water and is mainly used to unclog pipes.
You can adjust the flow rate using its unique control, but it is advisable to avoid operating it too close to the cleaning’s surface. The high pressure can cause debris to bounce and can cause detachments and cracks.
The gutter vacuum makes cleaning gutters easy and safe and is the most preferred method. It is handy when cleaning conservatories and hard-to-reach areas.
There are many gutter vacuum cleaner producers, but the Vac Master is one of the most popular cleaning industry options. It comes in various models, but they mainly differ in the size of the poles.
The right size for you will depend on the height of your gutters. Moreover, it comes with a wide range of tools and accessories to help you tackle any hurdle in your cleaning quest.
Professional equipment, however, can be expensive for one-time use so consider booking a professional gutter cleaning service for a fraction of the cost and guaranteed results.
We’ll show you how to clean out your gutters and install gutter guards to make cleaning and maintaining your gutters easier:
Prevention is the best cure for gutter cleaning, and a few hours of maintenance every 6 months will save you a lot of headaches and money down the road.
Moreover, gutters are aesthetically pleasing parts of your house, and regularly maintained ones would increase the value of your home, as well as expand the lifespan of your roof.