Gutter Cleaning Tips and Tools

By | 07.12.2007

If you want to keep the outside of your home and your yard looking nice, you need to make sure that you are regularly cleaning your gutter system. Clogged gutters cannot only make your house look bad, but they can contribute to destroying your yard. Gutters are designed to carry rain and melt water off your roof, through the system, down the down spouts, and safely away from your home’s foundation. It is quite common for leaves, small twigs, and other debris to find their way into your gutters and downspouts. If this debris is allowed to accumulate, clogs can occur. As the gutters are clogged, the debris and standing water make the gutters heavy. They can start to pull away from your house and cause an eyesore. In addition, if the water is not carried away from your foundation by the gutter system, the water can run down the side of your home or over the sides of the gutters and cause large puddles next to your house or eat away at your foundation. A flower garden or landscaping next to your house could be ruined.

You want to make sure that you clean your gutters regularly. Conventional wisdom suggests twice a year is necessary, but you could probably get away with one thorough cleaning per year. Schedule a cleaning in the spring and an inspection in the fall. The inspection will tell you if you need a second cleaning for the year. If you decide to do the job yourself, then you will need some gutter cleaning tools. Most important is a sturdy and safe ladder. You need to make sure that the ladder is tall enough so that you can stand a few rungs down and reach your gutters comfortably. You do not want to be reaching over your head to clean your gutters. Scaffolding will also work, but it takes a lot more time to construct it than it does to set a ladder against the house.

The next most important tool for cleaning your gutters is a gutter scoop. This is a large scoop with high sides and a long handle that allows you to scoop out as much debris as possible with each scooping action. Make sure that you measure your gutters before purchasing a gutter scoop because there are several different sizes and you want to make sure that the tool will fit into your gutter system. This piece of gutter cleaning equipment should not cost more than a few dollars.

Other pieces of gutter cleaning equipment include gloves for your hands, trash bags to collect the trash, a garden hose, and possibly a pressure washer or gutter wand. You do not want to be exposed to any of the mold or bacteria that accumulate in gutter debris so it is always a good idea to wear gloves. I personally just tie a garbage bag to the top of the ladder to collect the debris as I go; but some people prefer to throw the trash on the ground from the ladder and go around and pick it up later. Either way, you will need some heavy-duty garbage bags that can handle the weight of wet leaves and gutter grime. Once you get the large pieces of clog out, you will want to run some water through your gutter system with a garden hose to rinse the gutters clean. Some people choose to use power washers or gutter wands, but I think a plain old hose does the trick just fine.

As with all other do-it-yourself projects, if you are not absolutely sure you can do the job safely yourself, then hire a professional service to do it for you. It might cost a little more, but professionals have the experience and equipment necessary to keep them safe.


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