Cleaning your gutters is one of the more necessary (and dreaded), parts of home ownership. The job can be a hassle and even a danger, but skip it for too long, and you could see some severe damage to your home. This handy gutter cleaning guide will tell you everything you need to know about why clear gutters are necessary, how to get them clean, and how to avoid ever having to do it again.
The Importance of Cleaning Your Gutters
Before we get into the how, let’s talk about why gutter cleaning is so important, how often it needs to be done, and what could happen if you slack off.
Why Should You Clean Your Gutters?
Gutters are designed to carry water away from your roof and ultimately away from your house, preventing water damage from heavy rains and snow. Unfortunately, if your gutters are clogged, not only are they not draining away from your home, they can cause water to overflow, resulting in water damage. Cleaning your gutters ensures that waters from rain and snow will drain efficiently, keeping your home safe and undamaged.
How Often Should You Clean Your Gutters?
The average homeowner should clean their gutters twice a year, in spring and fall, to clear debris, prevent clogs, and keep everything flowing smoothly. However, this can vary based on where you live. For example, homeowners in very arid climates with fewer trees might only have to clean their gutters once a year. On the other hand, here in the Midwest, we can have harsh winters with lots of ice, making it important to clean your gutters a minimum of twice a year. If you have a lot of trees on your property, you may even need to have them cleaned three or four times a year.
What Happens if You Don’t Clean Your Gutters Regularly?
Depending on how quickly your gutters get clogged, you might not actually notice any issues right away if you forget to clean your gutters. Once you get a clog (and you will), water will stop draining effectively, and heavy storms with lots of rain, ice, or snow will cause the water to begin to damage your home. In addition, heavy water-filled and debris-laden gutters can sag or break away from the house, damaging the roof and fascia.
How to Clean Gutters
Now that you know how important it is to clean your gutters let’s talk about how to complete this tricky, yet important task.
Cleaning Traditional Gutters
Traditional gutters are open along the top to catch water as it runs off your roof. This is a simple, effective design for catching water, but it’s also great at catching everything else too. Leaves and other debris easily fall inside and get stuck. To remove collected debris, you’ll need a ladder, a bucket, a small shovel or trowel, and a garden hose.
- For safety’s sake, use a ladder that’s taller than your gutters by about three feet.
- Have a bucket for debris hanging on your ladder.
- Scoop any debris out of the gutters using the trowel, and put it in your bucket.
- Check for clogs and flush the downspouts by running the garden hose down the downspout and turning it on.
Checking Gutters for Damage
Water damage to your home isn’t the only side effect of clogged gutters. When debris is left to rot in the gutters for long periods of time, it absorbs water and causes the metal gutters to rust, creating leaks. Gutter seams, where two lengths of gutter are joined together, are particularly vulnerable to catching debris and developing leaks. Leaky gutters can’t do their job, so while you are cleaning the gutters you should check the integrity of the gutters themselves.
- After a rainstorm, check your gutters for leaks that need to be repaired and mark them so you’ll be able to find them easily once dry.
- While you’re cleaning your gutters, visually inspect them for chipping or flaking paint, rust, gaps, leaks, or loosened supports.
- Repair or replace sections of gutter, downspouts, or supports as necessary to ensure adequate drainage.
Cleaning Covered Gutters
Some gutters are covered with an add-on screen or cover to try to keep debris out. These gutters will still need to be occasionally cleaned to remove debris that got past the screen or cover. When it’s time, you’ll need to remove the screen or hood first, possibly requiring a professional to do the job. While screens or covers may mean cleaning your gutters less often, they’ll also make it more expensive and time-consuming when it comes to cleaning.
The alternative is a fully integrated, all-in-one system such as K-Guard Seamless Gutters. These gutters don’t have seams where leaks can develop, and they have a custom, removable hood that is designed to work with the gutter system, not against it. These are true maintenance-free and clog-free gutters, and the lifetime warranty guarantees that they will stay that way or be cleared or replaced for free.
Make Life Easier: Hire a Professional
If you’d rather not clean your own gutters, there is a solution: You can call a professional home improvement company and have them do the task for you, or better yet, install a maintenance-free option. The cost of having your gutters cleaned several times a year can add up, especially if you live in an area where it needs to be done frequently. Save yourself time, money, and worry by calling All Exteriors LLC today to have K-Guard Seamless Gutters installed on your home.