Gutter cleaning is a chore overlooked by some homeowners. The purpose of a gutter is to direct water away from a home to prevent structural damage. Rainwater and debris collect on your roof from rain and storms then flow down into your gutters instead of your house. Gutters protect the foundation, driveway, and sidewalk from pooling water and shield plants in the vicinity of your house from drowning.
If your gutters aren’t cleaned regularly, they can get clogged due to debris. Leaves and animal excrement are common waste that can get trapped and clog up your gutters. Gutter cleaning is recommended infrequently, about three times a year, to keep the flow of water going. We suggest cleaning them after a storm as leaves often get caught on your roof. Though you can call a professional to clean the gutters for you, it’s quite easy to do yourself. We’ve rounded up our 10 best tips to keep your gutters debris-free.
Use a Garden Hose
Using a simple garden hose, you can clear your gutters and make them free of leaves and other debris. The best attachment is a rigid tube with a curved end that looks like a pistol-grip trigger spray nozzle. This allows you to adjust the water pressure and wash away unwanted debris. You can purchase this type of spray nozzle at your local hardware store.
Protect Your Face
Clogged gutters are home to all sorts of debris, including excrement from rats, birds or frogs and even trapped wasps and bees. When you clean them, the congested muck can fly about and straight into your face and eyes. We suggest wearing goggles to protect your eyes and avoid infections. Wearing a face mask is also recommended so that sewage doesn’t get in your mouth.
Use a Gutter Scoop
A gutter scoop is an easy-to-use tool for gutter cleaning with your hands. It works well because the front scoop is very thin and can easily navigate the bottom of the gutter trough, capturing even tough and small debris.
We recommend using plastic gutter scoop instead of a metal one, which may damage and scratch the bottom of your gutter. Scrapes can cause rusting which means you’ll need to replace your entire gutter channel.
Your gutter is a breeding ground for bacteria, which makes the right pair of gloves a necessary armor. Aside from this, gloves can prevent cuts from rusted gutters or caught shards of metal.
We suggest using thick suede gloves as, unlike cotton gloves, they don’t absorb any dirty liquid which may seep to your skin and, unlike plastic gloves, are more endurable with cuts.
First, Clean the Roof
More often than not, the debris found in the gutter starts on the roof. Instead of waiting for the leaves or waste to run down the roof and get stuck in the gutter during a rain shower, clean the roof first.
Rake or blow off leaves and debris found on the roof. Debris stuck on the roof can also lead to water damming near the chimney or heating unit, ventilation and air conditioner. Remember: a clean roof leads to a clean gutter.
Keep Safe of Power Line Hazards
Power lines are real threats when cleaning your gutters. Before climbing up to check your gutter, first review if any electrical cables have been damaged. If there is any noticeable wear and tear, call a professional to fix this first before cleaning the gutters. If you need help finding a sparky in your area, submit a job request on LinkU. Don’t try to fix the damage yourself. If there is an electrical wire problem and it rains, delay cleaning your gutters as water is an effective conductor of electricity and you may be electrocuted.
LinkU can connect you with HVAC specialists who can fix electrical wire damage.
Exercise Ladder Safety
Your ladder is your stronghold when cleaning gutters so it’s important that you take the necessary steps to avoid getting into a ladder-related accident.
First, inform someone at home that you’ll be using a ladder to clean the gutters. They can help by holding the ladder in place or at least watch you in case you’ll need support. Second, test the ladder’s strength by climbing the ladder and seeing if it’ll hold. Lastly, use the right kind of ladder. We suggest using a four-legged ladder for a single-story home, and an extension ladder for a two-story home.
We suggest avoiding using a flimsy wooden ladder as it can wobble and to avoid fiberglass ladders because though they’re strong, they’re also heavy.
Unclog the Downspouts
The downspout or drain pipe carries rain water out of the rain gutter. A clogged downspout can lead to a clogged gutter because the rain water and waste can get backed up.
Once you’ve cleaned out the gutter, run a water hose down the downspout to flush out any struck excrement. If the downspout is still clogged, you may have to remove the downspout and flush the clog from the bottom.
Wear Rubber-Soled Shoes
You don’t want to slip when going up and down the ladder or walking on the roof. Rubber-soled shoes adhere best and prevent you from slipping. We suggest cleaning the gutters in the late morning or early afternoon when the sun is hot so that the roof is not moist due to morning dew.
Use Gutter Guards
Gutter guards are installations for your gutter that will help prevent clogs. Invest in a quality gutter guard and save yourself time. When purchasing a gutter guard, ensure that you select one that will work for your type of home. If you need help finding the best one for your home, it’s best to consult an expert from your local hardware store.
Maintain Debris-Free Gutters
We hope our handy tips help you with gutter cleaning all year round. If, however, you need professional help, LinkU can connect you with verified and licensed cleaners in your area who can clean your gutters for you. Download the LinkU app, submit your job request and sip on your beverage of choice while your gutters are cleaned by professionals.