I love autumn with its crisp air, respite from the heat, and all the gorgeous colors of fall. What I don’t love about it? Climbing up on the roof to clean the eaves and make sure the downspouts are clear. But, it has to be done, so onward and upward my friends.
Top tips for cleaning gutters and downspouts:
1. First and foremost, if you are really uncomfortable working at heights and feel unsafe, there is no home improvement code of conduct forcing you to do this chore yourself. Hire a handyman or, better yet, a roofer who has all of the equipment to do the job safely and securely.
2. When doing the job yourself, follow safe ladder techniques.
3. The best time to clean the gutters is after all of the leaves from surrounding trees have fallen so you don’t have to go up multiple times. Of course, the exception to this rule would be if you know that they are clogged and need to be done before the trees are done shedding all their leaves. Also consider doing this job after a several days of dry weather, the less soggy the debris, the easier it is to clean.
4. For the actual cleaning, start near the downspouts and work backwards, removing all of the large debris like leaves and twigs first. Then, you can use a trowel or small brush to clean out the smaller stuff. Having a bucket or trash bag up top with you saves you from having to clean up all the debris that you would otherwise throw down along the house. Now that all the big stuff is cleared out, you can wash the rest out with your garden hose. At this point you will start at the end furthest from the downspout and make your way towards the spout. If you find there is a clog in the downspout, try spraying high pressure from the bottom up to dislodge it.
While cleaning up the roof may not be a glamorous home improvement task, it is very important in order to avoid clogs, damage to roof and fascia, ice damming, and even water spillage that damages your home’s foundation and it should be done once or twice a year.
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