They provide invaluable protection for your home and its foundation from damaging effects of rainwater. But they can’t do their job if they’re clogged with leaves or other debris that’s accumulated over the course of the year. Below you’ll find some handy tips about how to keep your gutters clean and in perfect working order.
First, though, a quick note about terminology: in some corners of the upper midwest, the term “eavestrough” is used as a synonym for gutter. Like “shopping cart” and “buggy,” they’re just two different words for the same thing. We’ll stick with gutter, which is the more common term in most of the US.
Without further ado, here are four methods for making your gutters work just like new:
- Use your hands. Grab your gardening gloves or purchase a new pair of work gloves for this task. It will also be helpful to have a pail or bucket to put leaves or debris in as you scoop them out of the gutter with your hands or the help of a trowel. Begin by placing your ladder where the downspout meets the trough and then work your way to the end, removing the debris as you go. That way, when you’ve cleaned out the whole gutter, you can flush it out by dumping water into the gutter from your pail or using your garden hose.
Is the downspout plugged as well? You’ll know if the water you use to flush out the gutter pools rather than running down and out into your lawn. If it is, some experts recommend using a standard plumber’s snake to push through the clog and get your gutters working again.
- Use a hose. There are two devices, with different levels of power, that can help you blast out gutters: a regular garden hose and a power washer. For lighter amounts of debris, a garden hose can get the job done, though it may fling leaves here and there as you go. If it’s been a long time since you’ve cleaned your gutters, a power washer might have the extra force you need to get the job done the first time.
- Blow them out. If you have a leaf blower that you use to keep your lawn tidy you can make it do double duty on your roof as well. Leaf blowers can work particularly well in fall when the leaves and debris are freshly fallen. If you wait until spring, decomposing leaves can mix with other dirt and debris to create a heavier mess that won’t be so easily blown out.
- Vacuum them up. Don’t use your indoor vacuum cleaner! But if you have a wet/dry vacuum cleaner from a hardware store that you use in your garage or workshop you can use it to help you suck up the leaves and conveniently collect the debris in a single place for easy disposal. But be careful: wet/dry vacuum cleaners can be heavy or shift easily because they are on wheels. Always make sure you are being safe and securing yourself and your equipment while working on a ladder or on your roof.
No matter which method you choose, your first priority should be safety. A sturdy ladder properly placed is always a must. Never put yourself or others at risk of falling and being injured while cleaning gunk from your gutters.
Get a Helping Hand from a Professional
In many cases, a professional gutter-cleaning service might be exactly what you need. Professionals know their safety protocols, and they know how to get the job done quickly and correctly. Plus, no one said cleaning gutters is fun. In fact, it’s messy, time-consuming and for a lot of folks who don’t like heights, a potentially terrifying experience!
For all of those reasons, as well as your peace of mind, consider enlisting Local Home Pro to help you get set up with a gutter-cleaning service to help you keep your home—and its gutters—performing their best.