Leaves and debris accumulating on the gutters could lead to severe damage to the woodwork of your house. During the winter, water will trap, freeze, and expand in these areas, thus running them. Therefore, it is advisable to clean the gutters at least once or twice per year, especially when there are some overhanging trees around your home. Here are a few things you need to know about gutter cleaning.
Put on rubber gloves and work clothes
Cleaning gutters could be a dirty task. In addition, gutters might be relatively sharp. Therefore, it is important to wear durable work clothes and gloves. Even when you are working in hot wear, make sure to use a long sleeve shirt because it would provide extra protection against the sharp edges and insects. On dry days, particularly in dusty spaces, wear a face mask and eye protection to prevent pollen and dust from aggravating your lungs and eyes.
Set up your ladder
Place the ladder at the gutter cleaning site. If possible, you should lead it against your house’s wall or on the gutter, which is attached to your house with nails. Make sure it is at the right, particularly when you use an extension one.
Before climbing, you need to test for stability by climbing one or two steps. If it wobbles or leans, you should reposition till it’s sturdy. In case the soil is soft, your ladder might dangerously sink. In this case, put same-sized units of scrap wood underneath its feet to prevent it.
Sloping or uneven ground might make your ladder lean. Thus, you should level it out by putting some scrap wood pieces under its leg on the affected side. Test again for stability and make necessary adjustments.
You can do this with an air compressor or by your hand. You could scoop debris and buildup from the gutters with a gloved pair of hands or just use the nozzle from an air compressor to blow it. Alternatively, consider using a special tool for cleaning the gutters such as a plastic spatula, hand spade, or garden trowel. Don’t reach for the debris.
Instead, you should only get rid of debris from those areas which are comfortably within the reach. To ensure safety, it is advisable to have a relative or friend keep the ladder when you are working.
Flush the gutters
The last step is to flush the gutters with a garden hose. You can fasten it to a sturdy tree branch, trimmer, or pole. Attach the nozzle, then turn on and raise the hose to the gutters. Doing this until the whole gutter is flushed completely. Note those downspouts which flow weakly or unevenly because these might still have some blockages.
If you suspect downspout blockages, consider positioning the ladder near the spout. Use a screwdriver to tap along the length from the top to the bottom. A thudding sound often suggests a blockage.