dirty gutters

Essentials for Cleaning Your Gutters

Ugh! Time to clean the gutters!

When fall weather arrives, homeowners with wooded properties dread the chore of cleaning their gutters. However, it is very important because the gutters need to be clear before winter so they can route all of the precipitation from the rainy season away from the home.

To successfully complete the task, you will need several pieces of equipment and a dry day, at least one or two days after your last rainfall.

Necessary Tools

You always need to clean your gutters from below, not above, so you will need a sturdy ladder that does not require you to stand on either of the top two steps to see into your gutters. In addition, you should have a pair of gardening or work gloves, a trowel or gutter scoop, a whisk broom, a rag, and a bucket to keep all of the supplies in.
Hang the bucket from your ladder with a hook so you don’t have to worry about holding onto the tools while you are up there.
You will use the trowel or scoop to get out most of the debris, and the broom and rag can help you with more stubborn clogs. Start at the downspout and work your way back up the gutter from there.

Optional Tools

A handheld blower can make the job of cleaning gutters easier because you can use it as your first sweep to get as much of the debris out of the gutter as possible without getting your hands dirty at all. A hose can also be helpful for wetting down tough areas to soften debris and work it out of the gutters. And a roll of masking tape can help you mark problem areas to come back to later.

Specialty Tools

Some companies sell specialty tools that are designed to make the process of cleaning your gutters easier. One type of tool looks like a pair of tongs at the end of a long rod. It allows you to stand on the ground and clean your gutters from there by pulling a rope attached to the tongs to close them over the debris.
However, this type of tool is not likely to work on a two-story house, where you will not be able to see the gutters from below. In addition, even on a one-story home, it will not clear out every last thing in your gutter, and it doesn’t give you a chance to inspect your gutters for leaks, either.
Therefore, if you use this kind of tool, it is wise to get on a ladder and visually check your gutters on a regular basis as well.

Preventive Measures

To make your job easier next time, consider installing gutter guards to keep debris out of your gutter. According to Consumer Reports, the best type of guards are fine mesh screens, which have small holes that let water into your gutters but keep everything else out. Other types of gutter guards, such as foam and brush inserts, end up clogging gutters and making cleaning an even more difficult process in some cases.
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