Inspecting and cleaning the gutters is an essential part of maintaining your home’s roof system. If you skip this important step, the accumulated debris can lead to undesirable scenarios:
Gutters can overflow before water has a chance to make it to the downspout.
Pooled water can seep over the edge and make its way into your interior roof and wall spaces.
The reaction between rotting organic materials and water can lead to corrosion of the gutter and downspout materials.
Water can collect and pool near your foundation, causing long-term foundation damage.
After winter storms, it’s a good idea to take peek around the gutters – or hire a professional to do it for you – to make sure they are free of debris and to clear them of any twigs, leaves, or dirt that can compromise the gutter system’s function.
What to Look For When Inspecting Gutters and Downspouts
Here are the tools required for inspecting and cleaning gutters and downspouts:
A safe, secure ladder that extends well above the edge of your roof
Latex or latex-free gloves
Two buckets with wire hooks
Garden hose with nozzle or gutter cleaning attachment
Now it’s time to get started.
Check the weather. Ideally, you want to clean your gutters when it’s dry. If possible, choose a day when you’ve had dry weather for two to three days before so accumulated debris has time to dry out. This makes the removal of debris much easier.
Set up your ladder. Make sure all four legs of the ladder (or two if you’re using an extension latter) are planted firmly on the ground. Hook the buckets securely to the top of the ladder. Use one to carry your tools and the other to empty the debris into. Never step higher than the second-to-the-last stair on the ladder. If you feel uncomfortable or unsteady on a ladder, hire professionals to clean the gutters for you.
Remove the debris. Don your latex gloves, work gloves and safety glasses. The latex gloves will protect your hands from wet, rotting refuse that accumulates at the bottom of the gutters. Use your hands to remove the larger debris, like twigs and larger leaves. Then, use the trowel to shovel out the smaller debris. Dump it all into the bucket. If it’s been a while, you may need to head down to dump a bucket load multiple times before the job is done. Remove and clean any downspout strainers (the wire traps that lead to the downspouts).
Hose them down. Now that the gutters are clean, wash any remaining, smaller debris through the gutters and downspouts using your garden hose with an attached nozzle or gutter cleaning attachment. Begin hosing the gutters at the end that is opposite the downspout.
Check the downspouts. Make sure the water is moving swiftly through the downspouts. If it’s not, run the garden hose up the spout to unclog the debris, using a strong stream of water to help loosen the clog. Once the debris is free, spray the gutters again to make sure the water is running freely. If it’s still clogged or slow, work on the downspout again until it’s clear there is no block left.
Is gutter cleaning one of those “to-dos” you just can’t get around to? Have a multi-story home that makes gutter and downspout cleaning more difficult? Contact ProMan WC and we’ll be happy to help. We can also repair any minor damage that may be compromising the efficiency of your gutter system. Give us a call at 425-908-9121 or 510-478-4880.
Are you getting ready to decorate your home with holiday lights? Then we recommend taking advantage of your rooftop presence to clean the gutters and downspouts, preparing them for this winter’s storms.
This time of year, your roof and/or gutters will be filled with leafs, twigs dirt and other debris that has been dislodged via fall winds and rainstorms. This creates the perfect storm (pun intended) for serious damage to your home’s roof and structural elements.
Clean Gutters Are an Important Exterior Maintenance Chore
The gutters and downspouts are a very important part of your home’s “passive maintenance system”. They direct water from your roof, down and away from your home’s exterior and foundation. When gutters become clogged with leaf material and other debris, water runoff can no longer move in a desirable direction and problems ensue:
Waterfalls over doorways and overhangs. Firstly, water that would have moved “down and away” will simply spill over, forming a waterfall that building occupants must walk through in order to enter and exit the building. Not only is this a nuisance, it can also create a health and safety issue on slippery stairs and walkways.
Gutters can rip off the building. Your gutters are only designed to accommodate a certain amount of weight and stress, calculated with the idea that they will be clear of accumulated debris. As debris builds up, the weight pressing down on gutters becomes more than they are designed to hold. When gutters rip away from the building, they can cause costly structural damage and – again – you risk a serious health and safety issue if they fall on passersby.
Accumulated water leads to long-term damage. From dramatic leaks to more subtle moisture damage as a result of rot, mold and/or mildew, long-standing water poses a serious threat to your home or business. Cleaning the gutters at least once or twice a year ensures water is diverted as it was meant to.
Is Gutter Cleaning a DIY Job?
While gutter cleaning can be done on your own, it’s imperative that you use proper safety equipment and best practices to prevent an injury.
Make sure your ladder is in good shape and that it is firmly planted on the ground.
Do not ascend any higher than your ladder recommends.
Use gloves, safety goggles and a mask to protect yourself from falling debris.
Now it’s time to clean:
First, you want to remove the debris using a shop vac or a trowel paired with a garbage bag. Remove as much of the solid debris as you can so it doesn’t clog up the downspouts when you continue to the next step.
Use a high-pressure nozzle attached to your garden hose to rinse dust and the small debris particles towards the downspouts. Scrub the gutters with a soft scrub brush, being careful not to remove the gutter’s protective coating, for best results.
Use a hose or auger to continue moving debris all the way down and through the downspouts.
If they aren’t there already, install leaf screens at the juncture where the gutters meet the downspouts to prevent unnecessary clogs. Replace any screens that show signs of wear or visible cracks or holes.
Want to scratch an important fall chore off your “to-do” list before the holiday season? Call Jorge at Proman WC to schedule an appointment, 425-908-9121 or 510-478-4880. You can also send us an email: email@example.com