Many of us grew up hearing our parents and their peers complain about cleaning their gutters. Unfortunately, some of us still hold the same notion if we have many trees surrounding our homes. Since homeowners usually have many tasks to accomplish, it’s tempting to exclude gutter cleaning from our home maintenance checklist. But it’s not wise to neglect your gutters, particularly in autumn. Here’s how to clean gutters during fall.
As one of the most critical components of the roofing system, gutters need proper maintenance to function well and keep your home protected from water damage. By draining rainwater from your roof, gutters help prevent water from pooling and seeping into your home. Improper maintenance can lead to:
- Water damage: Without proper drainage, rainwater will pool and overflow down to your foundation or leak into your home through a damaged section of the roof. The resulting moisture can lead to mold growth and rot, both of which can undermine your home’s structural integrity and threaten your family’s health.
- Gutter detachment: The debris accumulated over time can weigh enough to pull your gutters away from the house, causing damage to the roof and fascia.
Preparing to Clean Gutters During Fall
With a little preparation and some perseverance, gutter cleaning can be a relatively simple task. Allow yourself several hours to complete it, though, you should never rush through this chore. You’ll need the following items to clean gutters during fall:
• A small shovel, trowel, or garden spade
• A ladder that will reach your gutters
• A tarp
• A screwdriver
• A brush that has sturdy bristles
• A bucket to hook on the ladder and keep your tools
• Protective gear including work gloves, a long-sleeved shirt, rubber-soled shoes, and safety goggles
• A nozzle-sprayer equipped garden hose
How To Clean Gutters During Fall
According to a survey conducted by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, approximately 90,000 people visit emergency rooms for ladder-related injuries each year. Start by situating your ladder on a flat, solid surface like the pavement and have someone hold it firmly before you climb up. Don’t lean too far to either side while on it. Climb down the ladder before moving it and don’t climb above the second-to-last step. Along with using a sturdy ladder to clean gutters during fall, wear protective gear for protection against sharp items, splatters, and rotting debris.
Clean the Gutters
Start by spreading a tarp underneath the section to be cleaned. If you have gutter covers, remove them. Use a small shovel, trowel, or garden spade to scoop debris from the gutter troughs, taking special care not to cause any damage to the gutter. Dump the debris onto the tarp below.
Flush the Gutters
Use a pressure-nozzle garden hose to flush the cleared gutter and wash out any remaining debris. Start from the side closest to the downspout so that everything flows down the downspout. If the dirty water is not draining, inspect the downspout strainer and clean it. Check for proper flow once more.
Check the Downspouts
If you still don’t have proper water flow, the downspout is probably clogged. Once you’ve set the sprayer to full pressure, insert the nozzle into the clogged downspout at the fixture’s lower end and spray. The high-pressure spray should help clear the clog. If you still don’t have proper flow, use a plumber’s snake to remove the blockage and flush the gutter again. Use the screwdriver to tighten any loose screws.
Now that you know how to clean gutters during fall, handling this task yourself might seem manageable. However, having your gutters and downspouts cleaned by a professional is always the safest and easiest way to have your gutters cleaned.