Cleaning the gutters on your house should be high up on your fall to-do list. Clean gutters allow rain and melted snow to flow freely into the downspout and away from your home. When it comes to this important task, you have a couple of options. You can make it into a DIY project or call in the tools and talents of a professional. These tips can prove helpful in either scenario.
Tools for Cleaning Your Gutters
If you've ever climbed a ladder to peek into your gutters, you know that they can take on a lot of debris. Gutter debris can include leaves, sticks, acorns, shingle sediment, maple tree samaras (aka "helicopters"), and maybe even a stray tennis ball. To clean the gutters, you'll need a trowel, a bucket with a handle, a ladder, rubber gloves, a broom, and a garden hose. I would use a metal trowel instead of a plastic one that may not be able to handle the weight of the debris. Also, you may want to wear safety goggles if you're concerned about dust or other particles getting into your eyes.
Tips for Cleaning Your Gutters
Once you've got your cleaning supplies, find a piece of solid ground where you can set up your ladder. It's a smart idea to ask another person to steady the ladder as you work on the gutters. After climbing the ladder, set your bucket on the collapsible shelf that is part of the design of most ladders. You can use your trowel or gloved hands to scoop the debris out of your gutters. For safety, don't try to reach further than arm's length to retrieve debris. Put the leaves, sticks, and other debris into your bucket. Once you have most of your gutters clear, climb down the ladder to hook up your garden hose so you can spray water through your gutters. The water should flow freely through the downspout. If it doesn't, examine the downspout and pull out any debris you see. If some of the debris is out of your reach, use the broom handle to push it down and out the end of the spout.
Getting the Help of a Professional
If you prefer to stay off of the ladder this autumn, you may want to call professional gutter-cleaners. Professionals have equipment designed to safely handle all of the challenges of cleaning gutters. Plus, if any maintenance is necessary, a professional can take care of that, too. If some of your neighbors use a local gutter-cleaning service, I suggest you ask them their opinion of the company. They can tell you all about the services provided by the gutter-cleaners as well as give you the name of the company's owner.
What About Gutter Covers?
Installing gutter covers or screens is one way to cut down on the gutter-cleaning process. Some businesses create gutter covers with a patented design that are guaranteed to keep out all kinds of debris. Alternatively, you can go to your local home improvement store and purchase gutter screens that you can install yourself. As long as they're made of durable material and stay firmly in place, installing gutter screens can help you remove this task from your to-do list.
I have just one more tip for you. If you decide to clean your gutters yourself, wait for a day that follows several days without rain. Scooping dry leaves and debris out of your gutters is much easier than removing a soggy mess. Thanks for reading! - Alan