How to Clean Gutters

Clean gutters are essential in maintaining the integrity of a home’s foundation and keeping its basement dry. If you are not afraid of heights, you should be able to clean your gutters by following a few simple steps.

Step 1: Choose a dry warm day to clean gutters. Debris tends to clump together and stick to the gutter when damp.

Step 2: Use a ladderto reach up to the gutter. Leaning down to clean gutters from the roof is unsafe and likely to result in an unpleasant outcome. Before you begin, make sure the ladder is on level ground. If the ground is soft, place a board under the leg tips to stabilize the ladder. For safety purposes, the feet of the ladder should be one foot away from the foundation of the house for every four feet of ladder height and the top of the ladder should extend three feet above the gutter.

Step 3: Use a wire hook to attach a bucket to the ladder rung for collecting gutter debris. With heavy work gloves and a garden trowel or gutter scoop, begin removing debris from the gutter. Start near the down spout and work your way to the end of the gutter.

Step 4: Run water from a garden hose to test the down spout for blockage.

Step 5: Use the high pressure setting on a garden hose nozzle to free any loose debris along the gutters and inside the down spout.

Step 6: If the garden hose does not unblock the down spout, use an inexpensive drain auger to remove debris from the spout.

Step7: Use the garden hose to check the gutter for leaks and patch problem areas with butyl caulk or a gutter repair kit.

Step 8: If the gutter is sagging, re-enforce or replace the gutter straps where necessary. Gutters need to slope one half inch per 20 feet for proper drainage. If the gutter spikes have pulled free from the fascia board replace them with gutter screws or fill the holes with wood epoxy and re-install them once the epoxy has set.

Step 9: Cover the cleaned and repaired gutters with mesh gutter guard to keep debris and leaves from accumulating throughout the following season. Foam inserts or gutter brushescan also be placed into the gutter to eliminate debris accumulation.

Empty the bucket of gutter debris onto your compost pile, put the ladder away and relax knowing your gutters are ready for the next gulley washer Mother Nature dishes out.

Clean gutters and downspouts at least twice a year, preferably once in the spring and again in the fall.

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