Leaves and dirt can trap moisture, corrode the gutter, and eventually make it leak. Leaking water will flow onto your exterior walls and into the ground. This will lead to wood rot, toxic mold, and corrosion. Rodents and insects will be attracted to these areas and accelerate the damage.
If these reasons aren’t enough to keep your gutters clean, think about the costs. Repairs can be expensive, so it’s better to think of how to prevent a clogged gutter than deal with the consequences later. Read on to find out more about how to keep your gutter clean:
1. Clean It Yourself
Cleaning a gutter can be done in two steps: first, get the large debris out of the gutter by hand. Next, hose down the smaller debris using a hose. To do this, you’ll need the right gear. Here’s a rundown on the essentials:
Protective Clothing. Rubber gloves protect your hands as you dig through debris. According to Lowe’s Home Improvement video, wearing latex gloves underneath to prevent your hands from getting soggy.
The Right Ladder. You will need a large extension ladder with a standoff bar. The bar lets you put the ladder against the wall instead of the gutter. Remember that gutters are only designed to hold the weight of water.
Cleaning Equipment. A hose with a nozzle attachment to focus water pressure can clean hard-to-reach areas. A plastic bucket attached to your ladder can also help you collect the debris instead of scattering it below.
2. Get a Gutter Guard
Cleaning should be done two times to four times a year, depending on the number of trees in the area. Most experts recommend doing this in the spring after the ice melts and during the fall before cold weather sets in again.
But with leaf gutter and roof protection, you only need to clean once every few years. It works like a colander draining vegetables – it screens leaves and other large materials from entering your gutter. Since large debris cannot enter, cleaning the gutter is as simple as hosing down the roof.
You might not even need to use your ladder anymore. Gutter protection can be as simple as a metal grid that is laid on top of the gutter, or as high-tech as a three-layer debris filtration system. Either way you go, this saves you time and money whenever you clean.
3. Hire a Professional
Not everyone can set a ladder against a roof and dig for leaves all day, especially if you have a large home. A professional cleaner can safely handle the complete removal of leaves and other debris inside your gutter. If you have a gutter guard, they can remove it, clean the insides and re-install it for you.
Specialized equipment lets them reach areas such as inside the downspout. They can also spot problem areas such as loose gutter brackets, corroding materials, and wood rot, and make recommendations for their replacement or repair.
Clean Gutters Can Last a Lifetime
Your roof’s gutter system, including the supporting structure underneath, can last a lifetime. All it takes is a bit of cleaning every now and again. Make sure to get a gutter guard to reduce cleaning times, do it yourself, or hire a pro.