Gutter cleaning is an important maintenance chore that helps prevent damage to your home’s foundation, siding, and roof. However, it requires working on a ladder and can be hazardous without proper equipment.
Gutters should be cleaned at least twice a year; in spring and autumn. Clogged gutters are breeding grounds for mosquitoes that can carry deadly diseases.
Gutter cleaning can be dangerous for homeowners if proper safety precautions are not taken. Falls from ladders are the most common type of injury related to this chore, and many people are seriously injured or even killed each year due to unsafe ladder use.
Make sure your ladder is sturdy before climbing it and that it is set up on stable ground. It’s also a good idea to ask a friend or family member to hold the base of the ladder while you are cleaning your gutters.
Gloves are essential for this job to protect your hands from bacteria-laden leaves, twigs and other debris that may be lying around. It’s also a good idea for gutter cleaners to wear eye protection to avoid getting debris in their eyes. This debris can range from small bits of metal to rust and pest feces. It’s also a smart idea to wear work shoes to prevent slip and fall accidents on slippery surfaces.
Gutter cleaning is messy work and often involves grabbing leaves, bird waste, pine needles, and other debris from the top of the gutter. These contaminants can contain dangerous pathogens and pests like bacteria and fungi. Using gloves and eye protection will help minimize exposure.
Gutter scoops are small tools that resemble plastic hand trowels and come in several different models. Some are designed to fit the shape of particular kinds of gutter systems, while others have chisel teeth that can break up and remove even the most stubborn clogs.
There are also telescoping gutter cleaning wands and extendable rods with brush or scoop attachments that can be used to clear out the debris without climbing up on the ladder. However, these tools are still safe to use if you follow the three points of contact rule and have a sturdy ladder that can be stabilized while in use. Gutter guards are another option that can make the task of cleaning the gutters much quicker and easier by blocking leaves and debris from entering while leaving openings for water flow.
When it is time to wash away the gunk, a bucket helps to contain the debris. This keeps it from splattering your home, driveway, or yard and helps to keep you safer when on a ladder.
Use the gutter scoop or a hard plastic spatula to remove any large debris from the guttering and put it in the bucket. A paint stir-stick also works in a pinch for those difficult-to-reach spots.
Next, use a garden hose with a spray nozzle to wash away the remaining gunk. Start at the high end of the guttering and work your way down to the downspouts. It is important to not leave any wet debris in the gutters, as this can encourage rats, bugs, and frogs to nest, and it will also accelerate the staining of your roof and house. If the hose cannot break up a clog, a plumber’s auger may be needed. Once the gutters are clean, it is a good idea to add drain outlet covers to prevent clogs in the future.
Downspouts are a very important component of your gutter system, as they direct rainwater away from the house. Without them, rainwater would simply run over the edge of the gutter and down the side of the house. This could damage or erode the siding, windows, and foundation of the home.
A clogged downspout is a very serious problem that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. While climbing up a ladder to unclog a downspout is a dangerous proposition, it must be done if you want your gutters to work properly.
If the clog is severe, use a plumbing snake to break up the clog. Once the clog is removed, use your hose to flush out the downspout one last time. This should remove any remaining debris and confirm that the gutters are working properly. This will prevent standing water and other issues that could arise from a faulty gutter system. If you have any questions about your gutter system, don’t hesitate to contact a professional.