According to the Census Bureau, nearly 65% of Americans were homeowners in the second half of 2019.
Homeownership comes with a ton of responsibilities, from paying off the mortgage to maintaining the pipes and electrical wiring. It can be hard to stay on top of everything all the time, and gutter cleaning is often overlooked.
However, gutter cleaning is more important than you think. Clogged gutters can lead to structural damage, safety risks, and more!
Read on to find out more about why you need to keep your gutters clean and get some of our best gutter cleaning tips.
Why Gutter Cleaning Is Crucial
Gutters are designed to catch water as it rolls down your roof and direct it safely to the ground. When gutters are clogged, they can’t perform their one and only job.
At best, you may find that parts of your lawn and landscaping are torn up after a long day of rain. A heavy flow of water may cascade over your clogged gutters, falling in a high concentration on the ground directly below. This pressure can cause erosion, shifting the dirt and grass in your lawn, and can oversaturate the roots of your plants.
At worst, water may pool on your roof and begin to seep between your shingles. When the flashing beneath your shingles comes into contact with high volumes of water, it can loosen or even crack under the pressure. Next thing you know, you’ll have a serious leak in your ceiling!
Clogged gutters are also good nesting grounds for unpleasant critters such as bees, wasps, and hornets. These stinging bugs love to build their nests in secure, high-up spots where the nest is less likely to be discovered and destroyed by humans. They may want to hide their home from you, but that doesn’t mean they won’t come out and sting someone if they feel agitated!
Every homeowner should clean their gutters at least twice a year. If you live in a heavily wooded area, you may need to clean your gutters more often, as trees shed plenty of gutter-clogging debris!
Gutter Cleaning Tips
It may seem daunting to add yet another task to your homeowning to-do list, but don’t sweat it. With our gutter cleaning tips, you’ll find this chore to be a breeze!
Ladder Safety Tips
Hiring a professional to clean your gutters is the easiest way to get the job done! We suggest you do so if your gutters cannot be reached by way of a ladder. In other words, if you live in a one-story house, DIY is just fine, but anything taller requires professional assistance!
When you use a ladder, keep your hips squared with either side. Don’t lean so far to the left or right that your upper body is no longer in line with the sides of the ladder. Work in sections as wide as your wingspan and move the ladder as needed.
Grab a Gardening Trowel
The best tool to use for gutter cleaning that you likely have at your disposal is a gardening trowel. Begin at the end closest to the downspout and scoop out the leaves and gunk that have built up in the gutter. Scoop away from the downspout so that you don’t risk clogging it in the process.
The best time to get up there is a day or two after a rainfall when the debris is slightly damp. If the debris is too dry, a lot of it will become airborne when you disturb it and may get into your eyes, nose, and mouth. If it is too wet, it won’t stick together in easily removable clumps.
If you aren’t comfortable dropping the debris into your yard for fear of damaging your plants or dirtying your windows, grab a bucket with a handle. Tie the bucket to the top of your ladder and empty it every time you head down to move the ladder a few feet.
Clean Away Stuck-On Gunk
Damp debris is a breeding ground for mold and mildew. Mold is both unsightly and, in some cases, corrosive.
The quickest way to rid your gutter of all that stuck-on gunk is pressure washing. Pressure washing is also a safer alternative to more hands-on methods since you can pressure wash from a distance. That means less time spent on a ladder and a lower risk of moldy water getting on your skin and clothes!
Install a Gutter Guard
Gutter guards are a great way to lower your risk of gutter clogging. Gutter guards can be purchased at most home goods stores. They are designed to fit over the top of your gutter and let rain in while keeping large debris such as sticks and leaves out.
Installing a gutter guard won’t protect you from mold or the buildup of debris such as pollen and smaller plant matter. It will, however, cut down on the frequency with which you need to clear your gutters out.
Avoid the Leaf Blower Method
You may see professionals (or gutsy neighbors) cleaning out gutters with a leaf blower. This is not something we recommend trying.
Handling a leaf blower while on a ladder is dangerous. For starters, they’re cumbersome pieces of equipment and if you’re holding on to one, you’re probably not holding on to the ladder. To top it off, some leaf blowers exert quite a bit of force when in use which could cause you to lose your balance and fall from your position on the ladder.
Plus, leaf blowers are going to kick up a lot of irritants. Unless you have goggles and a mask to cover your mouth and nose, you’re probably going to feel some serious discomfort after cleaning your gutter with a leaf blower!
Don’t Put Off Gutter Cleaning
Don’t put off gutter cleaning. It’ll cost you a lot more in money and time if you end up having to replace entire pieces of your roof after a leak!
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