Fall is a beautiful and colorful time of the year. Unfortunately, those beautiful colors inevitably clog up our gutters in the spring. We know that no one wants to do it, but eventually, you have to. Clearing debris from your gutters prevents water buildup and possible damage to your roof and gutters. Below, you can read through several different gutter cleanup methods, choose what best suits you, and learn how to properly and safely clean your gutters. It is also important to note that you should try to clean your gutters at least twice a year.
Gutter Cleaning Safety & Prep
First, we will be covering the most important topic, safety. Cleaning your gutters can lead to many possible injuries, so having the proper safety equipment is essential. This job can get pretty dirty, so we recommend that you wear a long-sleeved shirt and work pants to cover yourself. Next, have safety glasses, and gloves to protect you from any debris getting into your eyes as well as possible cutting yourself during the process. You may even want to consider buying fall protection such as a harness, anchor, etc., to ensure you’re secure.
When working with ladders, falling can cause serious injuries. Ensure you have a sturdy extendable ladder on a sturdy surface and possibly a helper to hold the ladder. When standing on a ladder, set it up so that when you’re standing with your feet at the ladder’s base and reach out to grab it, your arms are at a right angle with your legs. Capping the ends with rubber prevents the metal feet from gouging into your exterior wall and increases friction, making the ladder less likely to slide.
Gutter Cleaning Methods
There are three different methods for cleaning your gutters. Depending on what materials you have, safety concerns or preferences can help you decide which option you want. The three methods listed below are: cleaning your gutters on a ladder, sitting or standing on your roof, and cleaning from the ground.
Gutter Cleaning From a Ladder
The first method for cleaning your gutters is with a ladder. You will need a garden hose, a high-pressure nozzle, and a ladder for this method. Once you have the required materials, begin by placing your ladder in a secure spot. Then climb the ladder with your hose and work your way down the gutter. You may be required to manually remove some of the debris throughout the job.
Gutter Cleaning Sitting or Standing on Roof
The next method for cleaning your gutters is sitting or standing on the roof. Like the previous method, you’ll first start by securely placing your ladder and then climbing it safely. You’ll want to have a bucket, a pole, and a gutter scoop for this method. Start by gathering debris and creating piles every few feet or so. Once you have gathered all the debris, start placing your debris in your bucket. When doing this, sit down, placing the debris in the bucket. When filling up your bucket, make sure that you don’t fill it up too much, or you may become uncomfortable with how heavy it can be, especially if the debris is wet and possibly risk an injury.
Another option when you’re up on the roof is using a blower or pressure washer. Start by working your way down the gutter, blowing out all the debris. This way is a bit messier as you will have to clean your driveway or lawn, but you can also lay down a tarp on the ground to make it a bit easier.
Gutter Cleaning From the Ground
The final method for cleaning your gutter is staying on the ground. This option is great for those who may feel uncomfortable climbing onto their roofs. You’ll need a gutter cleaning wand to extend your reach to your gutters for this method. Once you have your necessary materials, you can attach them to your hose and place them into your gutter. Then slowly work your way down the gutter as the water pressure removes the debris from the downspout. This option can be messy as the previous method, so consider laying down a tarp.
Check Elbows & Downspouts
After you’ve cleaned out your gutters, you’ll want to ensure that there aren’t any blockages. To start this, remove the elbow, which connects the gutter to the downspout. Once the elbow is out, use a hose to spray water into it. If the water is flowing out quickly, your gutter is clean. If the water is not flowing out fast or backed up, you’ll have to remove a clog. To do this, use a plumber’s snake into the downspout to loosen up the debris. Then try your hose again. If the problem continues, repeat the previous step until water begins to flow out quickly. Reattach the elbow once you’re down, and you’re good to go.
Now that your gutters are cleaned, you have a few final steps to ensure the job is done. It’s important to do one final water test with your gutters. It never hurts to make sure the job is 100 percent complete. With high-pressure, use your hose and ensure water runs smoothly through your gutters. Once you’ve made your final run, the last thing to do is clean up your workspace.
Check out our other blog on the best gutter cleaners to learn about the best tools for cleaning your gutters.