Gutters control the flow of rainwater and play an essential role in protecting the foundation, roof, and walls of your home. When you neglect to clean your home’s gutters, they become clogged with sticks, dirt, leaves, and miscellaneous types of debris that prevent water from flowing freely. A clogged gutter puts your home at much greater risk of interior or exterior water damage, attracting mold, rodents, and other pests.
Angi (formerly Angie’s List) recommends that homeowners clean their gutters or arrange for professional gutter cleaning every spring and fall. Spring gutter cleaning is especially important in cold climates because snow and ice in the gutters can do damage after a long winter. Your gutters may require more frequent cleaning if you have trees in your yard that sit close enough to the gutters to fill them with leaves.
Tools for DIY Gutter Cleaning
The first thing you will need to clean your own gutters is a sturdy ladder. You will also need a scoop and bucket. Be sure to select a sturdy bucket that will not break or buckle when filled with debris from the gutters. Once you are certain your ladder is secure, start scooping out debris in the gutters with a garden trowel or gutter scoop. If you choose to scoop debris with your hands, Angi recommends covering them with gloves first.
A spray bottle filled with water will help soften areas of caked-in dirt. Your spray bottle can also come in handy to test whether each gutter’s downspout has become clogged. For badly clogged downspouts, you can use a bent hanger to loosen the dirt and then spray water on it to encourage the dirt to flow downward. When you have finished removing debris from the gutter, turn your garden hose to medium pressure and rinse any remaining particles in the gutter.
Consider Gutter Covers to Reduce Maintenance Requirements
Placing covers over your gutters can reduce the cleaning and maintenance schedule from twice a year to once every one to three years. However, Angi advises homeowners to do a visual inspection of their gutters at least once a year to ensure the covers are protecting them as they should.
DIY Gutter Cleaning Can Be Dangerous
Nearly 250,000 Americans fall from ladders each year, and many of those falls occur during gutter cleaning. You should not hesitate to hire a professional gutter cleaner to complete the job if you do not feel comfortable with the risk. Professionals have additional tools that keep them safe and allow them to complete the work with greater efficiency.