Cleaning your gutters may seem like one of those tedious tasks you’d rather leave to the experts. Similar to cleaning your kitchen, it’s one of those things that can linger on the to-do list.
But according to Gutter Supply experts, there’s no reason you can’t do the job yourself and save some money. All it takes is learning a few simple tips, and you’ll find that keeping clean gutters can be quickly done.
Here are gutter cleaning tips from the gutter cleaning experts. Cleaning gutters is not hard.
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The importance of clean gutters
Gutters collect rainwater from roofs and move the water away from a drainage channel away from the ground to a nearby drainage system. Without gutters, rainwater may leak into basements or crawl spaces.
Gutters usually need little maintenance for proper functioning. But when leaves clog a downspout the water has to go somewhere. So water either leaks through the roof or can pool against the foundation of the house and leak into a basement.
Stick to a Regular Schedule
Staying on top of cleaning your gutters makes the job quick and easy. Most experts recommend cleaning out gutters at least twice a year, with spring and fall being the ideal times.
Pro-tip, create a schedule for changing batteries in your smoke detector, cleaning your gutters, and replacing your HVAC filter. Each of these is easy and easily forgotten. Put the schedule on your fridge.
Inspect your gutters regularly
Once you have your schedule set, occasionally climb on the ladder to ensure everything’s OK between cleanings. Loose gutters, extreme weather events, and broken downspouts can all lead to problems later on.
Doing a little maintenance now can save you a lot of effort when cleaning time rolls around later.
What are you inspecting? Look for where there are clogs, and find any loose fittings. Finding loose gutters is easy. Just look for any section of the gutter system that is hanging.
You can also touch the gutters, they shouldn’t move. Don’t tug too hard though or you might pull a nail out.
A visual inspection should also look for standing water, either in the gutter or on the ground.
Use the Right Ladder
Even though cleaning gutters can be a simple job, some danger is still involved. Safely climbing up to your roof starts with using the right ladder.
A safe and sturdy extension ladder is preferred. A sturdy ladder will decrease the risk of falling.
Wooden ladders are not recommended, as they are generally wobbly and difficult to balance correctly. Choose a fiberglass or aluminum ladder instead.
Make it a Two-Person Job
Another way to ensure your safety when cleaning gutters is to recruit an assistant for the job. A second person can perform many tasks that keep you focused on the job, such as steadying the ladder, handing you tools, or just being on the lookout for any hazards you may not see.
Use the Right Tools
There are a number of tools you can use to clean your gutters. The equipment you choose depends on the height of your roof and how clogged your gutter system gets.
Options include gutter scoops, a power washer, a shop vacuum, a leaf blower, and a telescoping wand with a curved end.
Some recommended safety gear includes eye protection and rubber gloves. Some people like to use a five gallon bucket or plastic tarp for the debris.
Use a gutter scoop
A gutter scoop is a simple and inexpensive tool worth investing in if you don’t already have one. Garden trowels are also especially handy for pesky clogs due to heavy accumulation.
While it may seem like just putting on some gloves and pulling out leaves will be easy enough, the right tools will save your hands and make the job much easier.
I use a plastic scoop on our two-story house. I sit on my butt on the edge of the roof and scoop the debris down. You can then drop the leaves on the ground or fill up a trash bag sitting next to you. I drop them down and mow over the debris piles.
A Note About Aluminum Gutters
Take care not to press too hard against the sides of the aluminum gutters, as this could cause dents. Also, try to avoid leaning the ladder against aluminum gutters.
Power Wash the Leaves Out
When the gutter scoop or garden trowel is no match for a massive clog in your gutters, it’s time to use the power of water. A pressure washer can make quick work of built-up debris.
If you don’t have a pressure washer, a garden hose with enough water pressure can help too. Ensure your gutters are securely fastened and won’t break under the water pressure.
Also, be careful when using a powerwasher on the outside of gutters or you may spray some of the paint away. Instead, use the powerwasher from above to flush the gutters and downspouts.
Use a Wet-Dry Vacuum
A Shop-Vac or similar wet-dry vacuum can also make gutter cleaning a breeze. In fact, many manufacturers make gutter cleaning kits just for the job. And most wet-dry vacuums will offer you the option to suck in the leaves or blow them out, providing flexibility for easy cleaning.
Roof and gutter cleaning with a leaf blower
Some leaf blower models feature nozzles designed primarily for releasing incredibly strong air. Using a leaf blower to remove debris may be my favorite method.
The catch is a leaf blower only works well on dry leaves. If you use a leaf blower on wet debris, expect a mess.
How to Clean Gutters from the Ground?
Sometimes you can remain on the ground. If the clogs are not too bad then you can buy accessories to put on your hose.
How to try to prevent gutters from clogging
The best way to reduce all the debris that collects in your gutters is to not let it get in there in the first place.
Trim Problematic Trees
Leaves are the number one item that clogs gutters, so do what you can to stop that accumulation. Trim tree branches near the roofline to reduce the number of leaves that clog your gutters.
Wind will still carry leaves and other debris into your gutters, but do what you can to diminish nearby branches that account for the most accumulation.
Buy Gutter Guards
One of the best ways to prevent gutter clogs is guards and covers. These add-ons are simple to install and prevent debris from making it into gutters and downspouts in the first place.
A wide range of products, in all price ranges, are available online or at your local hardware store. This little bit of prevention can save a lot of work down the road.
Cleaning out gutters has traditionally been a job most homeowners dread. But once you’ve followed these simple tips, you’ll find that it’s one of the more manageable home maintenance tasks. Just find the schedule that works for you, remember “Safety First,” and bring the right tools, and you may even start to look forward to gutter cleaning time.
Greg is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) with 22+ years experience in Financial Services. He has held numerous FINRA Securities licenses (series 7, 63, 65, and 66), and is an expert on Investment Products and Financial Planning. Greg has 22+ years experience as a real estate investor and degrees in Psychology and Philosophy.
Greg has been quoted/interviewed in Yahoo Money, Yahoo Finance, USA Today, Authority Magazine, Realtor.com, Business Insider, and others.
Greg is an avid runner, and the father to identical twin girls and their awesome brother. His love of budgeting and his kids led him to join The Great Resignation in 2021.
Disclaimer: Any Financial Tips on ChaChingQueen are general and informational. Speak with a professional about your specific situation.