Why is it Important to Clean Your Gutters?
There are a number of reasons to clean your gutters from curb appeal to water damage. It is always better to clean your gutters than to have these types of problems that arise with debris filled gutters.
Gutters are designed to properly expel water, so when they are clogged the water will overflow. This can cause expensive damages. It could even force you to replace the entire roof.
Clogged gutters can also damage the home’s foundation. When gutters overflow because of debris, the water can compromise the stability of the foundation.
Pooling water can also be a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other pests. It is always good to make sure water isn’t pooling up. If it is, you may have to clean your gutter more often. Check your gutters once every 1 to 2 months so that they never get clogged without you knowing about it.
Since clean gutters improve curb appeal, the value will increase as well. Gutters are more important to the value and aesthetics of the home than you may realize.
How Often Should You Clean Your Gutters?
It is important to clean your gutters regularly, but how often is sufficient? It is good to know so that you don’t procrastinate too long (or clean them too often since it can be tedious).
Generally, you should clean your gutters about two times a year. However, depending on the amount of trees and leaves, it could be more often. Weather is a major factor to consider as well.
If you have a storm that shakes leaves loose, then you may have to clean out the gutter as soon as possible. You don’t want this debris clogging up the downspout.
Clogs can also cause water to pool up in the gutters. This water can seep into your home. It can also freeze and expand which can cause damage.
How To Clean Your Gutters
There are several methods that you can try, but it may be best to start with the simplest method first. Try to use methods that only require resources you already have.
Hands (and Manual Tools)
For this method, make sure you have heavy duty work gloves and a gutter scoop. A plumber’s snake can also help remove blockage.
This method is pretty self explanatory. Just take out the debris a little at a time. It is best to have a bucket to put the leaves, twigs, and muck in. This method really works best if you combine it with another method. You can use a hose to flush the gutters and downspout and check for additional clogs.
This method is very useful, but doesn’t always work against bad clogs. One benefit of this method is the fact that you may not even need a ladder, especially if you have a hose attachment.
It is always best to start at the end that is the greatest distance away from the downspout. You can remove additional debris by hand as you move along.
This method works great, especially if you use a fine-spray attachment. Even if your downspout is significantly clogged, you may be able to “power” through it.
It is good to know that this can be very messy. Wear proper work clothes and be prepared to rinse the area, both roof and walls, after you are done.
You can use a leaf blower to clean out gutters? Yes you can! However, it works best if you have an attachment that allows the leaf blower to release a smaller, but still powerful, stream of air. Like the other methods, it is best to begin at the farthest point away from the downspout.
You can blow through clogs and blockage as your work your way down the gutter towards the downspout. When you start to get close, try not to blow debris and leaves into the downspout because that can cause additional issues.
When you are done with the leaf blower, you can remove any remaining leaves, twigs, and other debris with a garden hose.
A wet/dry vacuum is possibly the best way to remove heavy debris from your gutters. You may need to test different attachments and hoses to see which works best. Some attachments are curved so that you can reach the gutters without the use of a ladder.
If there is dried dirt and gunk that won’t come up, you can wet it with a hose first. You can also use the hose to flush out the gutters after you finish with the vacuum.
How to Prevent Clogged Gutters
So you have unclogged the gutter. It took hard work and hours of your precious time. So how can you prevent clogged gutters and reduce the number of times you have to clean them?
There are some different options as far as coverings go fitting into two categories. No covering will keep all of the debris out of your gutters, but they can significantly reduce it. In turn, this will reduce the frequency of cleanings.
A screen cover will fit along the top of the gutter and allow water, but no large debris like leaves or twigs. You will have to brush them off every so often so that the screen’s holes do not get blocked.
There are also foam covers that work in a very similar fashion to the wire screen ones. Look at the options before deciding which is best for you.
A helmet cover, or a reverse curve gutter, will slide under the roof shingles closest to the gutters. It is then screwed or snapped into place. It will collect water near the edge of your gutters. It basically extends your roofline to the outward edge of the gutters.
Make sure you frequently check a helmet cover for blockage. This type of cover doesn’t require much maintenance, but it does require some. If it isn’t working correctly, you may have to locate a clog in the cover that must be removed. It is also important to clean them for best performance.
It is a much bigger hassle to clean out a thoroughly clogged gutter than to clean light debris. If you pay attention and clean the gutters often, you can keep them properly maintained. Not only is this great for their performance, but it also greatly reduces the chance that you will have to spend an entire Saturday to a complete clog.