Being oblivious to the nitty-gritty details of home maintenance work is no excuse for not cleaning your gutters. Hundreds of pounds of debris can accumulate in your gutters if you don’t clean them regularly. It’s no wonder then that gutter leakage and burst pipes happen frequently. Rather than keep on paying a professional cleaner to vacuum and hose down the dirt and other debris from your gutters, why don’t you clean them yourself to save money? Make sure the job’s done right using this step-by-step guide that teaches you how to clean your gutters in just four steps.
1. Get a sturdy extension ladder with safety locks. Before climbing, make sure the ladder’s base stands securely on firm ground. Check whether the top and bottom rails are firmly supported. Make sure you have a spotter to hold it steady as you climb up until you’re at eye level with your gutters.
2. Wear outdoor gloves or a workman’s gloves to protect your hands from scratches and injury as you search around your gutters for debris. Pick up bunches of leaves, twigs, pine needles and everything else you find, and put them into a five-gallon bucket. Continue doing this for all your gutters.
Most likely you’ll encounter piles of compost or carcasses of dead animals in your gutters. Use a scraper to remove them and put them in your cleaning bucket. Make sure you’re wearing a face mask, too, because of the smell of decomposing detritus and the tiny particles in the air that can trigger allergic symptoms.
3. Get ready to sweep your gutters clean! It’s not really sweeping per se because small clumps of dirt and other debris may still be inside your gutters and trapped inside the downspouts. What you need is a strong handheld blower or a garden hose attached to a faucet. These will blow or wash away the remaining debris.
4. Clean your downspouts of clogged debris by inserting the garden hose into the pipes from the bottom spout. Shoot high-pressure water into the pipes to dislodge whatever is clogging them. If this doesn’t work, then try using a plumber’s snake to reach the ball of debris clogging the pipes.
After you’ve cleaned your gutters, check your gutters for holes, dents, and signs of extreme corrosion. As you go along the length of your gutters, place painter’s tape over the spots you need to fix. Then, come back to those spots and cover them with clear silicone sealant. When you encounter sagging gutters, replace the nails with newer ones or use screws.
Mind you, these are just temporarily fixes to give you time to find a better and more permanent solution to heavily corroded, sagging and leaky gutters. Better call the guttering experts of The Leafman Australia for assistance in replacing your damaged gutters with new ones and putting gutter guards to ease the pain of cleaning them.
Article by Heidi Cridland