Home » How To Clean Gutters Like A Pro
Making an annual habit of cleaning out gutters before the winter sets in should be in every home-owners to-do list. Cleaning gutters before they get clogged is the best way to maintain a smooth- flowing gutter system. A yearly clean up is always a good idea, but of course, assess your gutters. Factors like heavy leaf fall and storms always warrant a gutter check. If you are wondering how to clean gutters like a pro, here’s everything you must know.
Why You Need To Clean Gutters
Waiting until your gutter gets clogged makes them harder to clean and puts your home at higher risk for water damage. Think of gutters like anything else you would clean. Frequent and regular clean-up is always healthy for your home improvement and faster than dealing with stubborn build-up.
If you leave your gutters to become blocked entirely, expect water to seep under your roof and into your home’s foundation. If you clean your gutters when they’re already clogged, know that you’re overdue.
For areas that experience winter, poor water flow can result in ice dams. These are ice build-ups on the edges of a roof, and are especially difficult to clean. On top of clogged gutters, ice dams increase water draining into your home.They also tear out gutters and loosen shingles.
How To Clean Gutters
To protect your home from rain damage, here’s how you can clean your gutters from dirt, gunk, debris, and everything in between.
First and foremost, ensure your safety before gutter cleaning. Pair up with somebody who knows how to clean gutters so you can alternate between tasks. Opt for a sturdy extension ladder fitted with stabilizer arms if you’re working with a ladder. Alternatively, you can use a platform ladder to get you to the gutters.
You should have a pair of thick work gloves as well. This is non-negotiable if you intend to manually scoop out blockages with your hands. For obvious reasons, work gloves are essential to protect your hands from getting unwanted cuts.
You or your partner should always be at the base of the ladder to spot and act as an aid for any issues that may come up. A partner will also make the cleaning process more efficient because they can pass up the needed tools.
If your home is 2 stories or higher, we recommend hiring professionals to clean your gutters. Basic home equipment is typically unsuitable and puts you at unnecessary risk. It’s best to eliminate the danger and employ the help of professional contractors.
For Regular Cleaning: Use A Leaf Blower And Power Hose
If you’re on top of your gutter-cleaning game, a leaf blower and power hose are usually more than enough to eliminate any light build-up.
First, get a thick damp rag and use it to clog all downspouts. This will prevent flying debris from falling in. Next, use a leaf blower to blast loose leaves, twigs, and other fallouts. Place yourself at one end of the gutter channel and work your way through with the leaf blower until you’ve cleared your way.
Once all the loose leaves have been blown off, you’ll likely find gunkier bits in the gutter. Use a hose to blast off the thicker build-up.
For Stubborn Built-Up: Use A Power Washer
For gunkier gutters, use a power washer to break through thicker and more stubborn build-up. Use the fine-spray nozzle of your power washer and work your way through the build-up. Keep going until the gutter is clear.
If you have clogged downspouts, set your power washer to a high-pressure stream and point it right down the downspouts. You’ll know that the debris has cleared off when the water runs down and out smoothly.
Cleaning Out Gutters Manually
If you don’t have power cleaning tools at your disposal, work gloves, a bucket and a trusty garden trowel will do the trick.
Manually scoop out build-up with your hands a trowel and dump them in the bucket. Again, work your way from one end of the gutter until you’ve cleared your way across. This is where a partner is beneficial. They can secure the base of your ladder and swap with you when you need a break.
If you’ve got clogged downspouts and you’re cleaning by hand, loosen build-up with a plumber’s snake. Slide it in and through the build up to loosen it up. Once loose, you can wash down the blockage with a hose.
Cleaning Gutters From The Ground
You can clean gutters from the ground if you don’t want to deal with a ladder or don’t have a ladder to work with. Use a gutter cleaning wand and attach it to your hose. This tool will allow you to reach up to your gutters and direct water pressure to dirt and debris. Work your way through the debris and direct it to the downspout. The gunk should flow out freely if broken apart correctly.
If you’re dealing with clogged downspouts and cleaning from the ground, remove the downspout from where it attaches to the ground. This should give you enough clearance to work a plumber’s snake through and break up any blockage. Once the blockage has cleared up, run a high-pressure stream until the downspout is clear.
Pro-Tips for Cleaning Gutter Efficiently
Gutter cleaning is tedious. It doesn’t help that the already laborious task requires you to be up near your roof. The inaccessibility and elbow grease required is an understandable reason why homeowners put-off the task until absolutely necessary.
But as mentioned earlier, cleaning up gutters when they’re already wholly clogged means that the task has long been overdue. To help lessen the work altogether, here are a few tips:
- Use a gutter guard along the entrances of downspouts. A gutter guard is a hardy mesh that allows water to flow through while preventing larger objects like leaves and twigs.
- Schedule it just as fall ends to make the most of your gutter-cleaning efforts. This is when leaf fall-out is highest, and the most likely time gutters will get clogged if left unchecked. Clearing your gutters before winter always helps prevent ice dams from forming.
- Don’t waste your time cleaning damaged gutters. Cracks and splits in your gutter require replacement. Sagging gutters is also a sure sign that they need replacement.
Gutter cleaning is tedious hard work. When in doubt for your safety or capability for the task, skip the risk and hire the pros to do the dirty work for you. Professional gutter cleaning per linear foot, costs $0.40 for single story homes and $0.80 for two story homes. This can add up to approximately $160 to $200 for an average-sized home.