Cleaning your gutters at least once a year is crucial to avoid damage from blockages and other costly repairs. Leaves and other debris can easily clog your gutters and when rainwater can’t flow through the downspout system properly this can damage your gutters or if the trapped rainwater freezes and expands this can also cause a break. Keeping them clear will protect your windows, door and foundations from water damage. You may need to clean them twice a year if you have overhanging trees, but it’s important to do it safely.
Signs you need to get your gutters cleaned:
- Your gutters are sagging
- Water is spilling out of the gutter
- There are stains on the walls of the house
- Birds are nesting in them
- Water sat at the top of the downpipe
- Water being slow to drain
Here are the top tips when cleaning your gutter:
- Protect yourself - Wear work clothes, rubber gloves and protect your eyes. Cleaning gutters can be dirty work and with sharp debris and insects you may disturb.
- Practise ladder safety - Ensure the ladder is stable and lean it against the wall of your house or fastened to the gutter at a secure angle.
- Catch the debris - attach a bucket or a bin bad to the ladder, or put a tarp down to make disposing the contents of the gutter easy. If there is wind a bucket is the safest option and will also protect your landscape.
- Do it by hand - remove debris with your gloved hand or a hand spade, this provides you with better control.
- Unclog the downspouts - It is common for your downpipe to become clogged and this can be a difficult part to reach and see. So, once the gutters are cleared, use water to try to clear it. If this doesn’t work you may need to try using a tool or call in the professionals to do it quickly and safely.
- Don’t reach for debris - this is dangerous and could lead to a fall or an accident, when cleaning gutters make sure you take your time and avoid injury by only cleaning what is comfortably in your reach.
- Flush your gutter - Use your garden hose to flush the gutter system, this can finish the cleaning off and help to identify any blocked areas, particularly for the downspout. A blockage will be clear if water isn’t flowing down the drain pipes easily. The water itself may dislodge any blockages anyway.
- Be mindful of powerline hazards - When handling debris or equipment to clean your gutters, nearby power lines can be a fatal accident so be very vigilant.
- Rake debris off the roof - Before you begin cleaning the gutter, you should first rake and clear the roof to avoid any debris clogging the newly cleaned gutters.
- Wear rubber soled shoes - When walking on the roof, wear rubber shoes to avoid slipping and falling.
- Be Careful on the roof - Never walk on the roof in wet, icy or windy conditions and never lean over the edge, it is best practise to tell someone you will be cleaning gutters in the event of an accident.
- Check the gutters - Once cleared it is the perfect opportunity to check for damage or any leaks in the system.
- Repair small leaks - If any damages are identified you can attempt to repair a small hole with suitable caulk but this may be a temporary measure, we recommend professional repairs or replacement as a long term solution.You can also mount a gutter hanger to repair any sagging metal.
- Tighten the gutters - If gutters are pulling away from the board it is mounted to, this increases the likelihood of leaks. Can simply reattach to the board.
This isn’t always an easy or glamorous task and sometimes you need to know when it’s time to call in the professionals. Particularly when the gutter is too high, has large leaks, an older gutter system or has unmanageable debris.
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