As the weather turns cold, gutters start to fill with falling leaves. While it's not the most exciting chore, cleaning your gutters and downspouts is essential to the health of your home. Unfortunately, a dirty gutter system is vulnerable to damage, especially once the freezing temperatures hit. The good news is, you can make this chore easier following these 6 gutter cleaning tips for fall season.
Why Is It Important To Clean Your Gutters?
During the fall season, your gutter system can get clogged with leaves. A clogged gutter means there's nowhere for the water to go when it rains. Instead, it accumulates on the edge of your roof, leading to all sorts of trouble.
The good news is, cleaning your gutters doesn't just prevent issues - it can add to your home's value. When you take good care of your gutter system, you're taking care of your entire home.
Improve Curb Appeal
A clean gutter looks nice, and that boosts curb appeal. If you're interested in selling your home, you want to do everything possible to increase curb appeal, as the first impression on potential buyers is essential.
Prevent Damage to Your Roof
When water accumulates in your gutters, it can puddle on your roof. Extended exposure to water can loosen shingles and even sink into the sublayer, where it can rot the internal structures of your house. Structural damage can be expensive and inconvenient to repair, but it's dangerous to leave, as it may lead to your roof collapsing.
Water damage can also lead to mold, which is a health hazard. Additionally, water attracts termites, which can further compromise your home.
Avoid Foundation Issues
Excess water can spill over the side of your gutters and puddle on the ground; this creates inconvenient mud, but that's the least of your worries - if left too long, groundwater can seep into your foundation. In addition, water expands and contracts depending on the temperature, so if water gets into any minute cracks in your foundation, it can make them worse over time.
If you have soft soil, groundwater can also cause it to erode. As the soil erodes, your foundation may shift, causing hidden structural issues.
What Is the Best Way To Clean Your Roof Gutters?
So, if you've never done it before, you may be wondering how to clean gutters. Do you need special tools? Should you call a professional?
While you can hire a gutter cleaning service, it is cheaper and more fun to do it yourself. As for gutter cleaning tools, there are a few items you need, but they're inexpensive and easily purchased.
1. Get the Right Gear
Before you tackle this chore, make sure you have everything you need in your gutter cleaning kit:
If debris has built up in your gutters, you won't be able to see what you're handling. Gardening gloves protect your hands from sharp sticks and other hazards. The scoop or scraper will help you move debris more efficiently into the bucket, which you can dump at the end of your task.
2. Put Safety First
You may be tempted to clamber onto the roof for this chore, but it's safer and easier to do from a ladder. Make sure you don't climb higher than the ladder is meant for and move the ladder to clean a new section rather than leaning. You can use an extension ladder if needed.
3. Clear Gutter Debris
The first actual step of cleaning is to clear out large debris such as leaves and twigs. These objects can get stuck in the downspout, causing a blockage, so you want to get rid of them before flushing the gutter. A scraper is helpful for this step as it extends your reach.
4. Clean Toward the Downspout
Once you've cleared out the debris, you can wash the remaining dirt toward the downspout. It's easy enough to do with a garden hose, though you can add a wand attachment for extended reach. You can also use a pressure washer for this step; the more water pressure, the easier and faster it is to flush the gutter guard system.
5. Mark Your Calendar
It's best to clean gutters twice a year: Once in the spring and fall. With this regular cleaning, you can avoid water damage and its complications. Also, note that intense storms can cause debris to fall from nearby trees, so you should check your gutters after inclement weather to ensure they're not clogged.
6. Install Gutter Guards
If you want to make cleaning gutters easier, you can install a gutter guard. These guards go over the top of your gutters and keep debris from falling in without impacting water flow. If clogging is a recurring problem, you can consider gutter maintenance regularly to avoid problems.