How To Clean Downspouts and Gutters

by Rachel Laurendeau on October 12, 2012

It might be tempting to skip cleaning your gutters this fall if you did them in the spring or even last fall, but putting it off can lead to more problems and much more work in the long run.

Why clean your gutters and downspouts regularly?

• If debris builds up, it can clog your downspouts causing damage to your roof and fascia.

• Debris buildup in your downspouts and gutters does not allow them to work properly and often leads to water spilling along the edges of the gutter. When water pours down and accumulates along your home’s foundation you can end up with water getting into your basement, causing even more damage.

• Water dripping or spilling over the gutters during cold weather can turn into ice along walkways and stairs and be very dangerous for slip and fall accidents.

Gutter and downspout cleaning tips:

• Clean the gutters after all the leaves have fallen off the trees for the season, unless you know they are clogged and need to be done sooner.

• Clean the gutters after a few dry days so that the debris is less soggy and easier to clean.

• If you have a single story home, your best bet is to use a stepladder on solid, level ground. If you aren’t comfortable working on a ladder or working from heights, call a professional roofer or home improvement contractor to come take care of it for you.

• While you are up on your ladder cleaning the gutters and downspouts, visually inspect your roof for any potential issues or damage. Call a roofing contractor if you find damage that needs to be repaired.

• Rotting debris in the gutters can be pretty smelly, be sure to wear gloves for cleaning.

• To clean, begin by removing large debris like leaves and twigs, starting from the downspout. Then, remove smaller debris and packed in materials with a trowel.

• Once you’ve removed the bulk of the debris, you can wash the rest out with a hose. Start at the end opposite the downspout and make your way towards the spout. If the water doesn’t drain quickly from the gutters, there is more than likely a clog in the downspout. You can use high-pressure water from your hose to try to clear the clog, try from the bottom up as this will likely dislodge it more easily.

• There are special gutter cleaning hose attachments with long handles available so you can do the spraying from the ground instead of on the ladder.

Cleaning your gutters and downspouts is a regular DIY home improvement maintenance project that should be tackled before problems arise with the roof or foundation of your home.

Resource: Lowe’s


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