Your gutters help protect your home from ice dams in the winter and water damage all year round by channeling water away from your home's roof and away from your foundation. They are a necessary part of any good home construction, but they don't last forever and they do need periodic cleaning and maintenance to make sure they continue doing their job properly.
Proper Gutter Cleaning
Many home improvement companies now offer inspection, repair and adjustment as well as replacement for homeowners who are having problems that a simple cleaning can't fix. In the meantime, these professionals stress that proper and safe cleaning are essential to long life and great performance. They suggest following the following steps to keep gutters clean and worry free:
• Clean and inspect your home's gutters two times a year so that they don't become clogged with leaves or collect too much debris to allow clear water flow.
• Wear thick gloves to protect your hands from debris such as shard twigs, broken glass and rough edges. Gutter companies can tell stories of homeowners who have been cut or injured because they did not wear the appropriate hand protection.
• Don't do the job yourself. You'll be standing on a ladder and you don't want to fall. Have a friend or family member steady the ladder and make sure you aren't on unsteady ground.
• Ignore your buddy's suggestion that you "blast the leaves out" with a garden hose. High water pressure can dent and warp your gutters and loosen their attachment to your eaves and roofline.
• Use a spade or some other small scoop to remove any leaves, debris or dirt that has accumulated. Be sure to fasten a bucket or garbage bag to your ladder so that it can catch the loose debris you've shoveled out.
• After the loose debris has been removed, rinse gently by setting your garden hose to a low flow setting.
• Clean the downspout or spouts last. Gutter companies suggest using your hose on a low setting to loosen any clogs by spraying water up from the bottom. If this doesn't work, spray into the downspout or spouts from the top.
• If you can't loosen a clog, do not try power washing or a strong setting on your garden hose, either of which could knock your downspouts out of alignment. Instead, use a plumber's snake to remove the debris.
Gutter Companies Offer Covers To Minimize Problems
If you'd prefer to clean your gutters less often and want to protect them from damage from debris, talk to local gutter companies about having covers or guards installed to keep maintenance to a minimum and protect you from hazards such as a fall from a ladder , accidental contact with electrical wires or damage to your gutters when you clean them. With covers to protect them, water will flow through freely but dirt, fallen leaves and other debris will be washed away from the roofline and away from your home's foundation.
By having gutter companies inspect and maintain your home's gutters and having guards installed, you not only prolong their life, you improve the protection they give to your house for many years.