If you want to have a smooth winter, now is the perfect time to clean your gutters and downspouts. Clean gutters will spare you a lot of expenses since they help direct water away from your foundation, protect your siding and trim, and keep your home in top condition for many years. But, before you climb to your roof, here’s are a few practical gutter cleaning tips you should keep in mind!
Get the right tools
One of the most basic gutter cleaning tools you can get is a simple cylindrical brush. These are perfect for removing dirt and scrubbing your gutters clean. Another practical thing out there is a gutter scoop. This shovel-like tool is used for scooping all kinds of gutter debris so you don’t have to use your hands to touch grime. Get a firm plastic version that will not damage your gutters but still provide you with the stiffness the job requires.
Bring out the big guns
You might also need a water jet attachment that can blast away all those stubborn leaves, branches and other debris and leave your gutters sparkly clean. You can even bring out your leaf blower, especially if you have a lot of dry leaves blocking out gutters!
Find the high ground
You definitely want to get tall and stable ladders for this project, since you have to climb high enough to actually see into the gutters. Ladders with stabilizers and a bucket shelf are a good solution, but they might give you vertigo, especially if you’re not comfortable with height. So, you might want to check out practical portable scaffolding that will definitely make you feel safer and allow you better mobility during gutter work. Scaffolding is also perfect for all other home improvement jobs that require climbing like house painting and window repairs, so they are a great investment!
Follow the steps
The best way to tackle gutter cleaning is to start by removing all visible debris such as leaves and twigs using your scoop, leaf blower and hands. After this stage, you’ll most likely be left with some stubborn pieces of debris, dirt and mud, but these can easily be removed with a water jet or your brush. Once all the dirt is removed and your gutters are hosed down, it’s time to test your drains. Use a hose to see if water is draining efficiently. If you see any water stagnation, it might mean your downpipes are clogged. If that happens, use a water jet to break the blockage and allow free water flow.
Inspect the condition of your gutters
After cleaning, you might want to inspect the structural condition of your gutters. Pay special attention to holes, cracks and broken brackets which might signal that it’s time to replace your old gutters. Call pros to repeat inspection and give you a quote on new gutters. Any damage you neglect might cause costly deterioration of your foundation, roof, siding and trim, so keep your eyes open!
Don’t forget about safety
One of the first steps toward gutter cleaning safety is to inform people that you’ll be using a ladder or scaffolding. When you have someone keeping an eye on you, they can help in case of emergency or even prevent a serious injury and even death! You should also wear proper safety gear like gloves and safety goggles. Gutters can be full of sharp debris, animal droppings, dirt and other nasty things that can injure your hands or get into your eye. Safety goggles are a strong must if you’re handling a leaf blower! Another thing you might want to keep in mind is that there are animals that can be hiding in your gutter. So, don’t get too startled and fall of the scaffolding when they come rushing out!
If you think you can’t handle your clogged gutters, it’s better to call professionals and not waste any more time. They have all the necessary equipment and knowledge to deal with even the most neglected gutters! Even if you know how to conduct the cleaning yourself, it’s a smart idea to call gutter maintenance every few years to have a thorough professional cleaning and inspection.
Don’t be too lazy to give some attention to your gutters. Cleaning them regularly is a great investment in your entire property that will ensure you have a comfy, safe and cost-effective home!
About the author:
Derek Lotts is a Sydney based writer and researcher, a regular contributor at Smooth Decorator blog. He writes about décor, gardening, recycling, ecology and business. He thinks all of these topics fall under the self-improvement category. He believes in the power of sharing ideas and communicating via the internet to achieve betterment.