Well-functioning gutters are essential for reducing potential damage to your foundation. Gutters direct rainwater off your roof and away from your foundation reducing the potential for damages caused by ponding water. It’s important to clean your gutters regularly to avoid becoming clogged which could lead to avoidable costly repairs. In cold climates, clogged gutters can cause ice dams allowing water to seep up and under roof shingles. Here are some gutter-cleaning tips and safety measures to keep your gutters in good health while also protecting you from injury.
Practice ladder safety-Use a sturdy fiberglass or aluminum ladder and check for any flaws. Ensure it is fastened or extended tightly to lock it in place. Keep both your feet and one hand firmly planted while on the ladder. Avoid overreach by adjusting the ladder frequently to reach with ease.
Avail yourself of the proper cleaning tools—Use an adjustable garden hose with an easy-to-grasp spray nozzle that you can manipulate with one hand while removing debris with the other. Get a plastic gutter scoop to remove leaves and thick debris without scratching the gutter.
Protect Yourself—Let someone know you are cleaning your gutters before you begin. Wear thick, suede gloves and goggles to protect your skin and eyes. Wear rubber shoes if you must walk on the roof to guard against slippage. Be careful of power line hazards. Call an electrical contractor to fix any frayed wiring near the gutters.
Clean your roof first—If you have debris that reclogs your newly cleaned downspout, you have made more work for yourself. Rake or power wash the top first, then unclog the downspout with a tool, water pressure, or tap on the side of the downspout. Downspouts may need to be detached for proper drainage. A clean roof can also prevent water damage, such as erosion and leaks.
Consider hiring a professional-If the thought of getting on a ladder gives you any hesitation, don’t take the risk and call in a professional. There are many companies that offer gutter cleaning and can be put on a regular schedule.
Be proactive through regular maintenance—Schedule cleaning once in the fall and spring to prevent water damage and rust corrosion. Alternatively, you can purchase gutter guards, which eliminate the need to clean out clogged debris but shop around to choose a manufacturer you can trust with a quality product.
A healthy gutter is a clean one in which rainwater can flow freely through it and out the downspout away from the house. Following these gutter-cleaning tips will help keep your gutters clear and in good working order so that they can continue to protect the roof and other parts of your home’s foundation from costly damage.
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