Water, leaves and dirt trapped in wooden and metal gutters and eaves troughs can cause major damage to your roof and exterior siding, which can also lead to damage to the interior of your home. Maintaining clean gutters takes a little time and know-how but could save you money and heartache down the road.
Steps for Cleaning Gutters and Eaves Troughs
1. Before cleaning your gutters, make sure you have access to the roof - preferably with a ladder. Make sure the ladder is sturdy and well-secured. Do not lean your ladder against the downspout or gutter and never hold on to the gutter or downspout for support, as they can easily bend or break.
2. To clean gutters, remove leaves and twigs from gutters by hand or with a satisfactory tool such as a small garden trowel, or an actual gutter scoop found at your local hardware store.
3. Wet or moisten solidified dirt in the gutter, which tends to be difficult to remove unless loosened by soaking. Once loose, clean out with gutter scoop or trowel.
4. With a garden hose, rinse remaining dirt down the downspouts. If the water doesn't drain freely then the downspout is clogged.
5. If downspouts are clogged, use a garden hose to run large amounts of water through the supply until the clog is cleared. If a plugged downspout can't be cleared with a hose, use a small plumber's snake or an unbent clothes hanger. Be careful not to damage downspouts.
6. Use a garden hose for final flush and cleaning of gutters and downspouts. (This will also reveal if there are any leaks in the system.)
7. Repair any leaks with appropriate outdoor caulking or specific gutter repair caulking.
8. If possible, cover gutters with wire or plastic mesh. This will dramatically cut down on debris in the future and cut down on your maintenance chores.
As with almost anything, a little maintenance with your gutters and downspouts can make all the difference.