Your rain gutters (also known as eavestroughs) work with your home to keep it in good condition. Cleaning your gutters semi-regularly will help you to avoid considerable damage to your foundation, as a clogged gutter will send water streaming down the side of your house. To help prevent damage to your foundation, as well as landscaping, crawlspaces and other surfaces, gutters should be well looked after!
Please note that throughout the article, we will be referring to both gutters and eavestroughs, which are synonyms referring to the same thing.
Luckily, almost anyone can complete this job. Gutter cleaning should take place at least twice a year, and although it might seem like a pain to take on, this is a crucial job. So, roll up your sleeves, put on some gloves and follow our step-by-step guide to cleaning leaves, debris and the various things that have nestled into your gutters.
Rain gutters should be cleaned at least once a year, though we are recommending that this job be completed twice. Obviously, an excess of rainwater, as well as debris, will build following large storms so it is important to make sure your gutters are clean, as clogs can easily occur if not tended to.
First, it is important to be equipped with the correct attire and tools to tackle the job of cleaning out your gutter. Make sure to wear long sleeves, long pants as well as long rubber gloves that sit at least halfway up your arm. A mask is also recommended in the case of flying debris. Next, you’ll need a sturdy and trustworthy extendable ladder that is equipped with stabilizers, to keep the ladder itself from damaging the rain gutter. Further, you’ll require equipment to remove the debris itself.
A children’s shovel works wonders for removing gunk, but if you don’t happen to have one of those kicking around, get a small plastic scoop from your local hardware store. It is recommended that you lay a plastic tarp underneath the gutters to catch all the falling debris. Also, have a hose close by so once the dirt has been removed you can finish the job by hosing off the gutters.
Practicing ladder safety is one of the most important steps of cleaning your eavestroughs. Unfortunately, most home renovation accidents happen because homeowners do not know how to correctly use a ladder. Make sure if you are cleaning your eavestroughs that you alert a family member, friend or neighbour that you will be using a ladder.
Also, before climbing onto the ladder, the ground underneath should be checked for stability. The ladder you choose to work with should be able to hold a medium-sized bucket for your collection of debris and should be equipped with four legs. Do not choose a 3-legged ladder for this job, as it can become unstable easily.
Prior to beginning the job, check the ladder for any defects or loose parts and be certain that all screws and bolts are tightened. Once all of these steps have been followed, carefully climb up onto that ladder to remove debris and buildup from the eavestroughs.
Once firmly on the ladder, begin removing debris with the scooping tool, small shovel or your hand if all else fails. Be sure to wear gloves regardless of your method of choice. Once all debris has been carefully removed, flush the eavestrough out with water and check for proper flow as well as any leaks or holes that may exist.
Check the downspouts to see if any debris has lodged itself and is blocking the flow path. To do this, put your hose on full force and shoot it down the spout. If the water flowing down is less than what is being streamed, then there is a definite clog. If you have discovered a clog, remove the nozzle from your hose and work the hose up through the downspout to dislodge whatever has become stuck.
Also, identify whether gutters are securely attached to the side of the house. If you have found any gutter damage, read our “How to Repair a Broken Gutter” article for the step by step guide to deal with these issues.
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