Keeping your gutters clean is essential to proper water management. Clogged drains can lead to water pouring into the foundation of your home. Rather than dealing with a sinking or shifting foundation, set aside some time this summer to clean out your home’s gutters. If you plan on doing this job yourself, here are the steps you’ll need to follow.
Assemble Your Gear
Before you start cleaning, you’ll need to get your gear together. Having the right tools will help make this job a breeze and keep you safe. Some of the things you need are:
- A multi position ladder
- A scoop to remove debris
- A bucket for debris and dirt
- A hose or power washer to rinse the gutters
- Sturdy work clothes
Each of these tools plays a part in cleaning your gutters successfully. If you don’t have a tall enough ladder, you won’t be able to reach far enough to get debris out from your drains. Depending on how tall your home is, you may want to either bring someone to hold your ladder or use a ladder stabilizer to prevent falling. Keeping your ladder upright and anchored correctly will keep you safe while you work.
Gutter cleaning is a messy job. If you’re concerned about dirt and debris getting on your landscaping, it may be worth it to put a tarp or tablecloth down under your work surface. However, if you don’t mind a little dirt, a simple bucket will do the job. If you’re working alone, you may want to have a nearby dumping zone so you don’t have to climb up and down repeatedly. By getting the proper tools, you can make your cleaning job easy and safe.
Remove Large Debris
Once you have your cleaning gear assembled, it’s time to start the job. After climbing up on your ladder and getting steady, grab your small shovel and bucket. Working in small sections so you don’t destabilize your ladder, start scooping the leaf litter, dirt, and debris from your gutters and drains. Once you fill your bucket, either pass it to your helper or dump it onto your tarp from the ladder. As you start cleaning farther from your ladder, be sure to move your ladder over, rather than stretching out. Stretching too far can destabilize your ladder and cause you to fall, potentially risking injury or death.
As you clean, you may notice sagging or broken gutters. Unfortunately, weight from debris, snow, or tree damage can cause gutters to break away from the walls of your home and become ineffective. In many cases, these dipping drains can be repaired with braces. After the debris is removed from your gutters, it’s time to make any necessary repairs. Getting major clutter and mess out of your drains will extend their life and prevent damage to your home.
Rinse Any Leftovers
Finally, it’s time to rinse. Before you wash your gutters with water, it’s essential to make sure there are no more leaves or debris in them. If your downspouts or drains are still clogged, rinsing could make the plug worse and lengthen your job. If everything is clutter-free, grab your hose and start spraying your drains. As you rinse, be on the lookout for any large clutter or broken hardware you may have missed, as those things will need to be addressed before the job is done. If you’re using a garden hose, attaching a sprayer head will give some added water pressure to the job, allowing you to flush mud and small debris out of your drains.
If you have access to it, a power washer is a great way to streamline your gutter cleaning process. The pressurized stream of water will easily wash away dirt and debris, helping you clean your drains faster and easier. While this option isn’t available for everyone, it’s a worthy investment for those who can make it.
Overall, gutter cleaning is an essential part of home maintenance. Once you’ve done it a few times, cleaning your drains will be a no-brainer.