How To Clean Your Gutters And Downspouts
By Jim Ames
Cleaning the gutters is one of those necessary tasks that every homeowner hates. If you let it go, though, you'll have gutters that won't drain and tiny trees sprouting on your roof. To keep your gutters clean and channeling water away from your house, try the following tips. Gutter cleaning may be a chore, but at least it can be a simple one.
1. Be sure to take care whenever you do any work on your gutters, because of the danger of falling. It may be helpful to have someone else there in case of an accident. Use a strong, safe ladder that reaches all the way to the gutter. The last thing you need to do when you're several feet in the air is stretch to reach your gutters. Be sure not to lean the ladder against the downspout or gutter to prevent breaking or damaging them.
2. Remove leaves and twigs from the gutters using a large spoon, small trowel, or specially designed gutter scoop. The more regularly you do this chore, the less onerous it will be. Routine maintenance of your gutters will keep them in good working order.
3. Wet any solidified dirt or debris with a hose or water from a pitcher. If there's a lot of it, you can use the scoop to remove it once it has softened. If there's not very much dirt in your gutter, you can wash it out with more water.
4. Check your downspouts for clogs on a regular basis. You can wash them out with a gentle flushing from a garden hose. Don't use too much force when cleaning your downspout, as it could bend or begin to leak. If water doesn't work, you may have to gently use a length of wire or plumber's snake to clean the channel.
Caring for your gutters regularly is the best way to avoid clogs and nasty jobs. If you're concerned about your ability to clean them safely, you can always hire a professional to do the work. However, if you want to do the job yourself, the above tips are the best way to get your gutters cleared out simply.
Remember that your gutters and downspouts aren't strong enough to support much weight. Leaning your ladder on them or allowing your full weight to rest on them while you're cleaning could ruin your drainage and earn you a hefty repair bill.
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