With the change of season, it’s a good time to make sure your home’s gutter system is clean and well-functioning.
Home gutters serve a specific purpose. By capturing and funneling rainwater away from a home “footprint” water damage to walls, windows and roofing can be minimized. A well-functioning gutter system can keep a home’s basement from flooding, and a foundation safe from long-term structural damage.
Damaged or dirty gutters can lead to major home damage that may not be covered by insurance.
For homeowners , keeping clean gutters is essential. Luckily, with the right tools, gutter maintenance can be a do-it-yourself job.
First, gather the necessary tools. You’ll need a ladder for climbing; a bucket for holding debris; a hose for flushing your gutters; and a small, scooping tool such as a trowel.
Next, carefully climb to your gutter. Using your hands, scoop large debris and place it in the bucket. Use the trowel to get to hard-to-reach places and for removing sticks and leaves. For safety, do not stretch to reach the next section of gutter.
After clearing the first gutter portion, step down from the ladder, move it to the next section of gutter, and repeat. Do this until all gutter sections are free from debris.
Next, find a garden hose with a spray attachment. Carry the hose up the ladder with you to the highest point of your gutter system — usually opposite the downspout. With the water supply on, spray water into the gutter to flush the remaining debris.
If the water fails to drain, there’s likely a clog in the downspout. Using a screwdriver, separate the downspout, find the clog, and remove it. Or, if you find standing water, adjust the slope of your gutter by removing the gutter hangers, fixing the slope, and re-attaching the hangers.
A gutter system should slope roughly one-quarter inch for every 10 feet of gutter.
Gutter maintenance is a twice a year task that you can do yourself. However, if you’re uncomfortable on a ladder, or prefer to hire professionals, that’s okay, too. As with everything in home maintenance, it’s safety first.