10 Tips for Cleaning Rain Gutters

Gutters are an essential part of any house. Gutters collect rainwater from your roof and divert it away from the foundation of your home, thereby keeping your basement dry. While people frequently spend a lot of effort trying to remove water from their basement using any number of commercially available sealers and electric dehumidifiers, a well-designed gutter system is often the most effective way to keep your basement dry.

That said, gutters frequently get backed up. All manner of debris-dirt, leaves, sticks, and more-can collect in your gutters. As such, regular cleaning of your rain gutters is recommended. Thankfully, rain gutter cleaning is fairly easy. If you are comfortable on a ladder, cleaning your rain gutters yourself can save you a significant amount of money. Moreover, regular cleaning can help ensure that your basement remains dry.

Here are some gutter cleaning tips that will make the project significantly easier-and faster:

Use An Appropriate Ladder – In almost all cases, cleaning rain gutters means heading up on a ladder. As with all jobs requiring a ladder, it is important that you select the appropriate ladder. If you can reach all of your gutters using a stepladder, I recommend using one as it is easier to balance on and doesn’t need to be leaned against the house. However, if you have a two-story home, you will need to use a taller ladder. Be sure that you do not lean the ladder directly against the gutter as it can easily break off, instead put a piece of board behind the gutter to help reinforce the gutter.

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Do not Overextend Yourself – A common problem for people experienced by people cleaning gutters is to overextension. Most often, this comes from an unwillingness to go up and down the ladder. However, the job will be much easier-and much safer-if you move the ladder every time you begin to have to reach.

Wear Gloves – Along with an appropriate ladder, you will also want to wear heavy-duty work gloves. Much of the gutter cleaning will be done with your hands and you will risk cutting yourself if you do not use gloves. Moreover, rain gutters can get pretty darn gross.

Wear Safety Goggles – Along with wearing gloves, you should wear safety goggles when doing rain gutter cleaning. Gutters have a tendency to collect various sticks and twigs, making it easy to accidentally hit your eye.

Scoop Out Debris – The easiest way to clean your rain gutters is to just scoop the debris out. You can throw it on the ground and rake it up later or you can put it in a bucket that you hang off your ladder. In some cases, a small hand shovel can make the job go quicker, especially when debris is caked onto the gutter.

Run Water Through The Gutter – After you have cleaned out the gutters, it is helpful to run water through the gutters using a hose. This will allow you to make sure that the gutters aren’t backing up and that water is being properly channeled through your gutter system. Having a second person observe the gutters from another vantage point can make this easier.

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Check Your Gutter System For Problems – Another good reason to run water through your gutter is to check for leaks, holes, and cracks in your gutters. If you see water coming out anywhere other than the downspout, you have a problem that will need to be addressed. It is beyond the scope of this article to explain how to fix those problems, but it can generally be done easily if you read up on it.

Clean Multiple Times Per Year – Cleaning your rain gutters isn’t a terribly fun job, but it is a whole lot more tolerable if you don’t let your gutters go too long without cleaning them. Generally, if you clean your gutters twice per year-once in the spring and once in the fall-you can make the job go a lot quicker. Moreover, your gutter system will also work much more efficiently.

Consider A Mesh Covering – If you find yourself scooping out a lot of leaves from your gutters, you should consider installing a mesh cover over your gutters to keep leaves out. This will make your gutters work more efficiently as the mesh will filter out the leaves. It is an easy improvement that is instantly beneficial, although you will have to set aside some time to complete the project. It is worth remembering that if you only have problems with leaves on one side of your house, you can just install a gutter cover on that side of the house-saving both time and money.

Make Sure Gutters Are Firmly Attached – While you are cleaning your rain gutters, you should make sure that they are firmly attached to your house. A gutter that is not properly attached might fall off or it will pull away from the house, often causing your gutter system to become either ineffective or work at a reduced level of efficiency.

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Rain gutter cleaning is essential home maintenance that can save you a considerable amount of money over what it would cost to hire a professional to do the job. Moreover, it can save you money on potentially costly future repairs to your home’s foundation caused by water seeping in due to a malfunctioning gutter system. These gutter cleaning tips should provide you with everything you need to do the job right.