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Cleaning Your Gutters in the Fall

by Skye Whitlock

posted in Home Improvement

Syndicate This Article
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Why is it Important to Regularly Check and Clean Gutters?
  • Clean gutters help to keep your home looking nice.
  • Gutters are a defense system that keeps water from entering your home causing damage.
  • They also keep water away from the exterior of the home and the foundation so no water damage or rotting occurs.
  • Debris and trapped water in gutters can lead to loose and overflowing gutters that won't be able to function and protect properly.
  • Gutters clogged with debris attract pests like mosquitoes, rodents, and ants that will build homes in your gutters or even end up in your home.
  • Areas with cooler temperatures can experience gutters blocked with ice. These ice dams force water into your home and can become too heavy with ice that the gutters become unattached from your home or may collapse and fall on the home, creating unexpected damage.
  • Gutters filled with debris keep the water from evaporating as it gets trapped beneath the debris. This can cause mold and mildew to grow, which is very hard to remove and can easily spread to larger areas.

Here is a good place to start:
Check your gutters for debris and damage. Be sure to have the all the equipment ready that you will need:
  • Ladder - so you can see into your gutter system
  • Bucket - to place any debris in
  • Gloves & Safety Glasses - for protection
  • Drill and Drill Bits - to secure any loose gutters
  • Garden Hose with Nozzle - to squirt out any remaining dirt or small debris
  • Hedge Trimmers - to remove any tree branches that block the gutters

Once you have gathered your supplies it is time to start clearing out your gutter system. Start near the downspout, removing large debris and dumping it in a bucket. Once leaves, twigs, and any branches or other debris are cleared, clean out smaller debris. This can be done with a hose or small handheld broom.
Pour a little water down the gutter to make sure it is draining properly. If it doesn't drain, the downspout may be clogged. A plumber's snake tool can be used to help clear away items blocking the drainage path.
It is also important to check for any cracks, holes, and leaks in your drainage system. As you clean out your gutters take note of where your gutter is damaged so you can be sure to make any adjustments or repairs before fall is in full swing.
Make sure there is enough room around your drainage systems so they can function properly. Use your favorite outdoor power equipment like your hedge trimmers or pole pruner to trim tree branches and bushes around your drainage system. This will ensure the water can properly drain through the system. Be sure to trim the area around your roof, gutters, and all areas where the water drains out around your home.
And Finally...
Make sure you follow up with the first step and fix any damaged gutters or other parts of your drainage system that aren't working properly. If your gutters are old it may be time to replace them. You may also want to use a rake or leaf blower to help you clear away debris that may have fallen onto the ground while cleaning out your gutters.
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