So far, it’s been a long, grueling winter, but don’t let the cold and dreary weather get you down any longer. March is here. Spring is just around the corner, and you’re probably excited to get a jumpstart on spring cleaning and home improvement projects. But, don’t forget it’s also important to make your home safe and secure!
Before you do anything major, it’s important to ensure the gutters on your home are clean, clear and flowing properly before the April showers arrive. It doesn’t matter what time of the year it is, your gutters can be clogged with mud, debris and leaves. Once the gutters are filled up with debris, that’s when serious and irreversible damage can occur. Clogged gutters can quickly and easily damage your home by harming your roof, your landscaping and even your foundation.
You’ll need the proper tools to guarantee the integrity of your roof and foundation right along with the overall safety of your home and family. When getting ready to tackle the tough gutter cleaning job, it’s important to make sure you have everything on the checklist.
Gutters are an essential component to your home, as the gutter system directs water away from your roof, walls, basement, prized possessions, and most importantly, your foundation. Serious foundation damage is costly, irreversible and easily caused by clogged gutters. Proper drainage is vital to the gutter system doing its job and protecting your home.
Your gutters should be inspected for possible cleaning three to four times a year when they’re unprotected and susceptible to clogging by debris. You’ll be cleaning out your gutters on a regular basis to avoid clogged gutters and this is no small task, as even a medium-sized home can take hours.
It’s also important to check the downspouts to make sure they’re clean and clear for water to run freely to designated drainage areas. Lastly, you’ll need to check to make sure the gutters are suitably fastened to the home, as sagging or damaged gutters can do serious harm to your home and family.
Once you’ve decided to clean out the gutters, it’s important to first assess the task at hand. You’ll need a full understanding of the tools needed to clear out all the debris left behind, clogging up your gutters. A gutter that is heavily clogged, which typically happens at the end of a wintry, rainy or leave-shedding season, might have more than plain leaves, twigs, dirt and debris. Often, the gutters also have mold and slime buildup which breeds bacteria.
Make sure you have the right tools for the job
When it’s a small, manageable job, cleaning out your gutters is easy with simple gardening tools adapted for the task. Otherwise, you might want to call in some professionals to have the gutters cleaned and protected with gutter guards.
A basic list of gutter cleaning tools includes:
- A Strong and Sturdy Ladder – Professional gutter cleaners sometimes use special equipment, such as power washers or gutter cleaning wands that enable cleaning without a ladder. But most use a ladder, and you’re definitely going to need one. You’ll want a stable ladder that’s tall enough to give you easy reach into the gutters for cleaning. Unfortunately, some of the gutters on your home could be too high or out of reach. If this occurs, you might want to call in a team of professionals to assess and clean out your gutters – while also evaluating the need for gutter protection to prevent future gutter clogging.
- A Good Pair of Gloves – Gloves are necessary to protect your hands from the bacteria that thrives in rotting leaves and gutter slime. If the accumulation of dirt and leaves is not too large – and is mostly dry – you can use your gloved hands to scoop debris out. But be prepared for a slow and tedious spell of work, as your hands can only grab so much dirt at once.
- A Tough Gutter Scoop – This is essentially a small hand shovel specifically designed for scooping gutter debris. If you decide to buy one to speed up things, remember to first measure your gutter width because gutter scoops come in different sizes.
- A Trash Bag or Small Bucket – You can always dump the dirt, debris and leaves on the yard or ground and clean it off later, but that just ends up making a mess. A trash bag or small bucket is advisable, preferably with a small hook to hang from the ladder and free up both hands for cleaning. This is where you have to be careful, as the juggling act of scooping gutter debris while standing on a ladder can be extremely dangerous. If this task seems too dangerous, you’ll want to call in some professionals to keep you and your family safe, as gutter protection might be the answer for you.
- A Brush – Professional gutter cleaner and installer usually uses specially designed brushes to scrub the residual dirt after the debris has been removed. If you’re looking to save money, any house brush should do just fine. The only drawback is that it will take more scrubbing time and will not as reach as far as the special gutter cleaning brush. Another reason to call in the professionals, why waste your weekend up on the ladder cleaning out gutters when you can hire professionals to do it for you. If you’re really looking to save money and time, this is where you might want to consider having gutter guards professionally installed so you’ll never have to fear cleaning out your gutters or worry about clogged gutters.
- Water Hose – There’s an array of special equipment available on the market – power washer, gutter cleaning extender wand, gutter cleaning robot – to flush out your gutters. In their absence, your best bet and cheapest solution is a good garden water hose to rinse away the residual dirt after a deep clean and thorough brushing.
You should now have a belt full of tools ready to tackle any serious gutter cleaning job. But if you find maintaining your gutters to be difficult, you might be interested professionally-installed gutter protection.
Many homeowners very simply don’t have the time to routinely pull out the ladder and clean their gutters, which is perfect indicator of the need for gutter guards like LeafFilter™. Some other homeowners very simply aren’t capable of climbing up the ladder or don’t have the strength to maintain the taxing chore of gutter cleanout.