Even if cleaned last fall, it is a good idea to check gutters and downspouts to prevent expensive gutter, roof, basement and foundation problems later. Even a little debris can form a blockage that can cause gutters to overflow, pouring potentially harmful amounts of water around the foundation. As the water table around the foundation rises the chance of costly foundation and water damage increases. Clean out gutters that have any signs of debris.
Cleaning gutters and downspouts can be dangerous work but there are a few things you can do to minimize risk and make the job easier.
- Stay away from power lines.
- Use a sturdy ladder with a wide base. Fiberglass ladders are the best.
- Wear gloves to protect hands from sharp metal edges, bird feces and anaerobic debris.
- Wear rubber souled shoes if you plan to get up on the roof.
- Wear a long-sleeved shirt and eye protection in case of encounters with wasps and other critters.
- Stay off of wet, slippery or steep roofs unless you are wearing (and are professionally trained to use) fall protection equipment.
Making the job easier
- Rake or blow debris off roof before starting on the gutters.
- Scoop significant leaves and debris out of gutters with a plastic garden trowel (metal can damage gutter finish)
- Use a pistol-grip nozzle on a garden hose for a one-handed final cleaning.
- If the downspout is clogged, try flushing it from above with the garden hose. If that doesn’t work, try gentle banging to loosen debris. If it is still clogged, flush the gutter from below by wrapping a rag around the garden hose to form a seal. It may take several tries but eventually it will clean.
A gutter leaf protection system can reduce or eliminate the need for frequent gutter and downspout cleaning. Before buying, consider the manufacturer’s (not the installers) guarantee. Many claims are made that cannot be delivered. If you would like a referral to clean out gutters, call us at (913)789-9333 or drop us a note online.