Why Gutter Cleaning is So Important
Gutter cleaning is one of the most important parts of a home maintenance regimen. Keeping your gutters clear of debris and dirt can dramatically prolong the life span of your home or business and help to stave off costly damage.
The Role of Gutters
Gutters act as receptacles and channels for water, keeping it away from walls and foundations and thereby protecting our homes and other buildings from damage. When properly installed and functioning well, gutters should catch all rainwater and funnel it away from the structure. The water should exit the gutter system via downspouts that are located far enough away from the building so as not to cause water infiltration at the foundation.
Regular gutter cleaning and maintenance is an important part of caring for your home or business. Taking care now can save you a lot of money in structural damages in the future. As soon as you move in to any new home, inspect the gutters so that you can perform any necessary repairs and/or cleaning right away. You will be prolonging the lifespan of the building by doing so.
When gutters are not cleaned regularly, debris like leaves and dirt build up and eventually form blockages. These blockages not only cause water to back up and spill over, they also play host to the sprouting up of all kinds of plant life. Weeds and saplings love to take root in clumps of dirt left to dwell in gutter channels. This will eventually cause degradation and breakage of gutters. Cleaning your gutters out twice a year (more if you live next to large trees or in other situations where debris might accumulate more rapidly than usual) will keep buildup at bay.
It is rapidly becoming the norm for people to harvest rainwater collected through their gutter systems. Large, stylish looking urns can be purchased at most home improvement stores. These containers are placed under downspouts to catch all of the water that comes out. This is a great way to reclaim water for use in washing and watering. You can live a little greener and save money on your water bill in this way. If your gutters are clogged or not properly functioning, you’ll be missing out on lots of valuable water as it either becomes blocked and absorbed by dirt and debris or is lost by way of holes or gaps in the gutter system.
Gutter Cleaning 101
Follow these steps to give your gutters a good cleanout.
- Use a ladder to reach the gutters. It’s best to have someone down below to make sure it stays steady and to help out when you climb down. If you are cleaning gutters on a house with a flat or gradually pitched roof, see if you can safely access the roof from an upper window or balcony and work from above.
- Use gloves and a gardening shovel to scoop out the slop into a bag or bucket. It won’t be pretty, but it will be worth it.
- Once you’ve removed most of the solid matter, you need to spray the gutters with water – preferably with somewhat high pressure. Make sure that all remaining dirt is carried all the way through the gutter system and exits via the downspouts. During this process, you can test for leaks in your gutter channels.
Going forward, keep trees trimmed back from your house and use consideration when planting new trees. Think about whether the branches will hang over your gutters once the tree is mature. If they might, problems could occur including damage from broken branches as well as faster accumulation of debris in the gutters.
Call a professional to do this work for you if you are uncomfortable with heights, or have a condition that makes it difficult or dangerous for you to clean your own gutters. Many times, it’s worth it to pay someone who has the right equipment and can get the job done quickly. You may want to forego the ladder and bucket in favor of a lounge chair and glass of lemonade, and find a local company to attend to your gutter cleaning needs.