If you’re like many, you probably don’t give much thought to the gutter system of your home. That’s regrettable, considering how important it is to the value and integrity of your home. Lawn care experts of Summit Turf Services is here to help guide you on how to clean your gutters. The system honestly doesn’t do anything until it rains. However, once it does, a good gutter system is what makes sure rainwater doesn’t gather on your roof or run down the sides of your home.
What happens if I don’t clean my gutters?
Uncontrolled rainwater can get in between the wood or vinyl siding of your home which is supposed to keep water out. It can even get behind window frames and create damage that is not cheap to repair.
Think of gutters like bowling lanes. There’s a reason they have gutters. It’s for physical protection. The gutter system around the outside of your roof is supposed to get water out of there. If you’re not sure how to clean your gutters and never learn, you may start having erosion and foundation issues.
How are gutters put together?
Gutter sections are typically attached using hangars. Some sections will be straight, but there will also be corner sections. In some spots, the horizontal gutter will attach to what’s known as a downspout, which is a vertical piece that has a drop outlet at the end. Most homes have splash blocks positioned at the bottom of their downspouts to keep water flowing away from the foundation. Cleaning roof gutters might be a small chore, but it’s one that can prevent huge issues.
Follow these easy steps on how to clean your gutters, while even making some basic gutter repairs.
Tips on How to Clean Your Gutters
To clean your gutters, you will need a few tools. You need a ladder, of course. It’s also helpful to have a pair of buckets, a garden hose with a functioning nozzle, a trowel, and a drill with bits. There are also attachments you can put on the end of your hose just for gutters to help with the cleanup process. Just search online for gutter cleaning attachments or contact your local hardware store. In addition, there are two materials that you might need, gutter sealant and touch-up paint. Setting yourself up for success is so important when learning how to clean your gutters.
How to Prepare
A lot of your success or difficulty in cleaning your home’s gutters is going to be in your preparation. Ideally, you’ll clean them each spring and fall in order to keep them functioning properly. Leaves can accumulate over time, which clogs up your downspouts. You should check the projected weather forecast before you clean out your gutters. If you have a chance of rain, let any gutter debris dry out first. Dry gutters are much easier to clean.
Cleaning Your Gutters
Once you’re ready, put your ladder up, but not against a gutter. The weight can warp or break the guttering. Start your cleaning near one of the downspouts.
Climb up there with your trowel and one of your buckets. Use them to get rid of the larger debris, such as leaves and twigs.
When you take care of the bigger things, move to the gutter end that is opposite of the downspout, even if this means repositioning the ladder. Once you have cleared any larger obstructions and clumps of leaves, use your hose to start flushing out finer materials. If you have the gutter-cleaning attachment, you might not even have to spend so much time up there, if any at all.
Some drone enthusiasts use their toys to get close-up looks inside their gutters without ever leaving the ground! In any event, if water does not drain from your gutter, then you need to verify the downspout strainer is clear, and possibly clean again if need be.
What do I do if I have a clogged downspout?
If your gutter water still won’t drain after this, then you might have a clogged downspout.
If this happens, then the first thing you need to check is the end of the drain. If your downspout goes underground, then you might have to remove it from the piping as necessary.
Put one of your smallest nozzles on your hose, and then lock it in at full pressure. Turn the water on so you can feed your hose up the spout from the bottom. If this can’t clear your downspout, or your smallest nozzle is just too big, then you can grab a plumber’s snake tool from your bathroom in order to clear any blockage going on in there.
Once you’re done, reattach the downspout once more, before flushing out the whole gutter again. Always make sure that you clean all the downspout strainers.
What if there is standing water in my gutters?
As you go about cleaning your gutters, you might notice that some of them need some attention in order to return to working condition. If you have standing water, even after the gutter has been flushed, you might have a gutter that isn’t sloped right. A readjustment may be necessary. As a rule of thumb, your gutter length should decline a minimum of 0.25 inches for every 10 feet in the direction of the downspout. It’s not much, but it’s enough for water to flow.
If your gutter isn’t sloped enough, then detach all the hangers so you can adjust the gutter just enough for good drainage before reattachment. A smart tip for how to clean your gutters is working on individual sections one at a time, so you don’t risk the whole gutter system coming down.
Inspect every section of your gutter, as well as the downspouts, for any missing parts or obvious damage. In most cases, there will be support hangers spaced out at 2-foot intervals along the gutter.
An important tip from our guide on how to clean your gutters is to always keep safety in mind when doing this. You should never attempt to repair or clean your gutters while you stand on the actual roof. Always do it when you are firmly standing on a ladder. Don’t use any of the topmost three rungs. Also, don’t go past either side rail, at least no farther than your belt buckle. When you work from your ladder, use one of your buckets for the debris, and the other one for carrying tools. If you can, use wire hooks to attach your buckets to your ladder. Be sure that the area on the ground below the gutter remains clear. You may want to check into purchasing a ladder stabilizer, which adds ladder safety. A ladder stabilizer can lock onto extension ladder rungs, which helps it avoid shifting from one side to the other.
Final Thoughts on How to Clean Your Gutters
It’s crucial to monitor your home’s overall condition on a regular basis. Wear and tear happens, due to things like age and weather. That means it’s smart to deal with issues prior to them getting expensive. Regular maintenance needs to be done for all sections of your home, but the exterior really needs work since it takes a constant beating from mother nature.
Maintaining your gutter is one of the most important things you can do for your home because gutters that are in poor shape will cause other problems with your home’s exterior. Since they surround so much of your roof, they’re certainly something that guests and neighbors notice the condition of.
If the thought of cleaning your gutters seems overwhelming or too tiring, you may want to look into investing in gutter guards. Gutter guards are screens that keep debris from ever getting into your gutter in the first place. They can also direct water flow away from your home and down into the ground. They ramp up the effectiveness of your gutters and make life much simpler. Of course, you can always get in contact with the experts at Summit Turf Services. Call us today!