Gutters are among your home’s essential components. They help re-direct rainwater away from your house, preventing structural damage, erosion, and house shifting.
Despite that, their maintenance is often overlooked.
Gutters collect more than just rainwater. Dust, dirt, leaves, branches, and other debris can accumulate and block their piping.
A clogged gutter causes water to overflow, causing flooding and foundation damage. Moreover, blocked gutters attract pests, increasing the risk of infestations and disease.
Fortunately, regular cleaning and maintenance can help keep your gutters in good shape. Experts recommend cleaning them monthly and scheduling professional cleaning from companies like D’Angelo & Sons Roofing at least once or twice a year.
In this post, we’ll walk you through cleaning and maintaining your gutters. You’ll learn how to
identify clogs, what are the best ways to clean gutters, and which materials you’ll need.
How To Identify Clogs
Clogs occur when dirt, dust, leaves, and other debris fill up your gutters beyond their capacity, preventing free water flow.
Clogged gutters can cause significant damage to your home if not addressed. The damage may include leaks into your home, mold, and wall or insulation damage.
Being familiar with the typical signs of clogged gutters helps you know when to clean and maintain them, preventing these issues from happening to you.
Here are the common signs of a clogged gutter:
Water overflow and ponding: If you see water spilling over the sides of your gutters, it indicates they’re blocked. When gutters are clogged, water often gets re-directed to the top. As a result, the water begins ponding, leading to leaks and mold growth.
Paint damage, rust, and mold: Other than water overflow, paint bubbles, rust, patches of discoloration, and mold, may tell you that your gutters aren’t in good condition. If you notice such signs, inspect and clean your gutters to avoid costly damage in the future.
Plants growing in your gutters: Plants start growing in your gutters if water, dirt, seeds, and other debris sit in the trough. You have to deal with this immediately, as the growing root system can break your gutters, leading to costly repairs.
Rainwater is not going down your downspout: When it’s raining, you should step outside to see if water is flowing through the downspout. If very little or no water comes out, your gutters may be blocked.
If you don’t have the time to clean your gutters, consider scheduling professional cleaning services regularly. Also, you can install gutter guards to reduce debris accumulation in your channels.
What You’ll Need To Clean Your Gutters
Now that you’re ready to clear out clogs, you’ll need the following materials:
- Extension ladder
- Garden hose
- Plumber’s snake (for clogged downspouts)
- Pressure washer
- Shop vacs
- Stand-off stabilizers
- Hook (for hanging the bucket)
- Gutter scoop
- Safety glasses
These tools will help you clean and clear clogs effectively. You can easily find them at your local hardware stores.
Steps To Clean Your Gutters
If you feel like you can do the job yourself, cleaning the gutters is something you can do. Here are steps you can follow to keep your gutters clean and clog-free:
1. Set Up The Ladder
When it comes to gutter cleaning, safety is key. How you position your ladder plays a huge part in that.
Place your ladder on flat, sturdy ground, and ensure it firmly sits on the surface. Avoid positioning it in mud, snow, or greasy areas, as you may slip and get injured.
Before getting on the ladder, you’ll need to attach stand-off stabilizers. These tools help put the ladder’s weight on the roof and not on your gutter, preventing damage. Stand-offs also give the ladder more stability when you’re on it, adding to your safety.
When on the ladder, observe the basic rules. For instance, climb and descend the ladder with caution. Also, never lean or reach far away from the ladder, as it makes it unstable, putting you at risk of falling. Finally, always maintain three-point contact: two feet and one hand or two hands and one foot on the ladder always.
2. Clear Debris From Your Gutters
Once your ladder is safe, you can get to removing debris from your gutters.
Avoid doing this in wet conditions. Dry waste is easier to remove, so if your gutters are wet, give them a few days to dry out.
When removing the debris, start with your roof before tackling the gutters. If you don’t clear the former, wind and rain will only wash the debris right back into your gutters.
From there, start above the downspout working towards the end cap to prevent debris from building up.
There are different ways to remove trash from your gutters. For instance, using your hands to manually remove debris, scooping it out with a gutter scooper, sweeping the gutter with a wet or dry shop vac, or flushing the debris with a garden hose or pressure washer. After clearing the trash, you can then wash the gutters with natural cleaners.
If you use a pressure washer or shop vac, look for those designed for roof and gutter cleaning.
3. Clear Out The Downspout
Once you’ve cleared your gutters, focus on the downspout.
Start by running water through them at full pressure. If the water backs up, the downspout is clogged.
To unclog it, try tapping it on the sides to dislodge the debris. If this doesn’t work, use a plumber’s snake.
If this also doesn’t work, remove the drainpipe and try flushing water from the bottom at high pressure. But if the downspout is attached to an underground drain, it’s best to call a plumber.
Otherwise, the blockage will move to the underground pipes, making removing it even more difficult.
4. Check And Complete Any Repairs
After cleaning, it’s time to check and repair any damage. For instance, if you notice cracks or holes in your gutters, apply sealants or replace the damaged section to prevent leaks. If you have a problem with drainage, you can adjust the slope of the gutters.
Give Them The Attention
Regular gutter cleaning helps keep them clog-free, preventing costly damage to your home’s interior and exterior. It also improves your home’s aesthetics and elevates its overall value. If you’re overwhelmed with cleaning your gutters, the guide above will help you do the job safely and efficiently. Of course, you can always turn to the experts for aid.