Fall Maintenance: Gutter Cleaning and Care for a Leak-Free Winter

Gutter CleaningBe sure to tackle your gutters’ cleaning needs before fall ends to avoid dealing with leaks this coming winter.

Winter is right around the corner. As temperatures start to drop, dealing with falling leaves is one of the main problems most homeowners have to deal with. Not only do they accumulate in the yard, they also tend to collect inside gutters, which if left unattended could obstruct the passage of rainwater that may result to roof damage and leaks.

Of course, if you are a homeowner yourself, you know how invaluable gutters are. Along with downspouts, they function as a drainage system that catches and funnels water away from your roof, exterior walls, windows, doors and foundation, keeping your home safe from leaks. As such, it is crucial that you keep them free of clogs to ensure that they will do their job properly.

Fall is the perfect time to tackle your gutters cleaning needs. As tedious as the chore can be, it is a good idea not to avoid it. After all, when winter sets in, your gutters will ensure that water from melted snow and rain will not find its way inside. Luckily, there are several ways how you can get the job done. Take note, however, that for any gutter-cleaning approach, the first step you should always follow is to assess the condition of the gutters. That way, you will know if there are repairs that need to be done and for you to determine the best approach suitable for the condition of your roof’s drainage system. Here are some of the most effective ways to keep your gutters spic and span.

Cleaning by hand

Cleaning gutters by hand is by far the most effective way to remove stubborn muck. For this approach, you will need a heavy-duty work gloves to protect your hands, a bucket, garden trowel, hose, scrub brush and an 8- to 12-foot step ladder to easily access the gutters.

Anchor your ladder securely and climb up to the gutter. Be sure to start at the drain or downspout area, then move your way towards the length of the gutter. With your heavy-duty gloves on, scoop out loose debris with your hands or you may also use a garden trowel, placing what you have just removed into the bucket. Once all the debris has been removed, bring the hose to the middle of the gutter and flush it with water, directing the stream to the downspout. To dislodge large chunks of stubborn debris, you can loosen them with the scrub brush and flush them with water from the hose. After this, go to the downspout and spray water into it to clear any build up.

Cleaning using a power washer

If the layer of debris and dirt on your gutters is too thick, using a power washer is the best way to go. For this approach, you will still have to use your hand to remove loose debris. After which, you may blast the hard build up using the fine spray nozzle of your power washer, including the clogs in the downspouts. Take note that this approach can be a bit messy, so if you do not want to end up cleaning your home’s siding, it is best to cover it up with a tarpaulin before you start cleaning.

Cleaning with a leaf blower

Dry fallen leaves that have accumulated in the gutters can be easily removed using a leaf blower. Most leaf blowers have a nozzle attachment designed to stream low level of air, suitable for gutter cleaning. Some leaf blowers even come with attachments that are long enough to reach the roof, enabling you to do the cleaning from the ground. If you would be using this approach, be sure to opt for a blower vac, a type of leaf blower that can suck in leaves and small twigs through a vacuum. Doing so will ensure that the debris on your gutters will not spread onto your roof or yard, which could entail additional clean up.

When using a leaf blower, be sure to cover the hole to the downspout first so the debris will not clog it up. Then, you can start blowing out debris, working your way slowly to the end of the gutter. As a final step, you may need to remove stubborn debris using your hands or a trowel and then flush the entire gutter and downspout with water from a hose.

An ounce of prevention

When you are through cleaning your gutters, test them by having someone run a stream of water into each gutter while you walk around the house to see if there are leaks that have to patched up and observe if the water is draining away from your home. If everything is in good working condition, the next best thing you can do is to consider installing guards, screens or filters onto your gutters. These things will reduce or even eliminate the need to clean the drainage system of your roof. They come in a wide variety, ranging from various metals to synthetics, allowing you to easily find pieces that will complement the look of your home.

Jessie Moore is an avid writer who greatly enjoys tackling topics related to home improvement. Because of her passion for the subject, she is the best choice as a regular contributor for McIntyre Masonry. To know more about the company, visit www.mcintyremasonry.co.uk.

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