One of the most important home maintenance tasks to complete during fall is cleaning gutters. When leaves fall and your gutters fill with twigs and acorns, they become clogged and overflow. Overflowing gutters can cause water damage to the roof, siding, and foundation. They can also come loose from the house under the weight of standing water. With the right equipment and precautions, you can clean your gutters effectively and safely.
1. Get the Right Ladder for Cleaning Gutters
The most important tool that you will need for cleaning gutters is a sturdy ladder. If your home has multiple stories, you will need an extendable ladder. For single-level homes, a step-ladder may suffice. A ladder stabilizer can be added to an extension ladder as a safety precaution. Always have another person nearby whenever you are working on a ladder.
2. Cover Up While Cleaning Gutters
Cleaning gutters is a messy job. Gutters are often full of bacteria-ridden water and debris that you do not want to get on your skin. Wear long sleeves and gloves to protect your hands and arms and safety goggles to keep dirt out of your eyes. A bandana covering your nose and mouth will help you stay clean.
3. Scoop Out the Dirt
While you can use your hands to clean out the gutters, a special gutter scoop that fits the shape and width of the gutters makes it easier. Scoop out the entire length of the gutters, moving the ladder along the edge of the roof as you go.
4. Collect the Debris With a Bucket or Tarp
If you allow the debris from the gutters to fall below you, there will be sludge in the yard around your house. Keep the mess contained with a bucket or tarp. Hang the bucket on the ladder or spread a tarp underneath where you are working and deposit the gutter debris there instead.
5. Rinse Out the Gutters and Downspouts
After you have scooped out the gutters and cleared the tops and bottoms of the downspouts, rinse everything out with a garden hose. Make sure the water flows easily down the gutters and downspouts. This will help you spot any leaks or clogs. If the gutters are damaged, have them repaired right away before more severe weather arrives in the winter.