Spring Cleaning for Gutters

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Spring has sprung and there is no time like the present to give your gutters the attention they deserve. Since gutters are up overhead, they are often out of sight and thus out of mind, but that can create a host of problems around your home. Gutters can clog and leak or begin to sag, which then creates problems such as peeling paint and rotten fascia boards.

Clogged gutters can also fail to properly direct rain flow, which then puts your dwelling at risk when it comes to foundation, siding, basement flooding, and even landscape damage. It is possible to use tactics such as gutter guards to skimp on cleaning efforts, but even gutter guards are not fool proof. Debris can still become lodged in them and will need to be removed manually.


When you are ready to begin cleaning gutters, you will most likely need a ladder for access. A useful tool for cleaning is a garden trowel although a lot of debris can be grabbed and removed by hand. You will also need something to collect debris in unless you plan to make rounds picking it up off the ground after your cleaning efforts are complete. Start by removing gutter guards if they are present and then remove leaves, pine straw, and any other debris that may be present.

While you are up there, check fasteners and fittings to ensure that your gutters are still firmly attached to your home and in good working order, making plans to replace or repair components that need it. Using a bubble level will help you tell if sags are present that are not quite visible to the naked eye; remember that a slant of " per 10 feet of gutter is the norm and should be present for the proper direction of water.


With debris removed and gutters clear, you next step is to check downspouts. These, too, can become clogged as the movement of water forces debris down them where it can collect and lodge in place. Take your hose and insert it into the top of the downspout and turn it on full blast.

Water should flow freely from the bottom of the downspout, but if it does not, there is a clog in there that will need attention. The best way to break up a clog in a downspout is through the use of a plumber's snake.

Use the snake to break the clog apart and again check the ability of water to flow through the downspout. If this still does not work, disassembling the downspout will probably be necessary to clear the clog.

(Looks good huh?)

Once your gutters are free of large debris, it is a good idea to run a hose through the entire system to get rid of any small debris or loose debris that remains. Afterward, be sure to conduct periodic gutter checks, such as when it rains, to make sure water is flowing properly. While gutter cleaning is not the most enjoyable household task, it is a necessary one. By staying on top of it, you will ensure the long life and good function of your gutters as well as preventing water damage to your home. Neglecting to give your gutters the attention they need can be costly in the long run, so give your gutters the maintenance they require today!


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