Your gutters are essential to keeping your home protected. When was the last time you cleaned them? If you’re like most homeowners it’s been a while, possibly even years. That’s usually because gutter cleaning is one of those home maintenance chores that no one wants to do.
It’s dirty, it’s difficult, it’s time-consuming and it could land you in the emergency room if you’re not careful. But according to home maintenance experts, gutters need to be cleaned at least once a year, and it’s recommended that they are cleaned twice a year.
That’s because the leaves, pollen, dirt, and debris that builds up in your gutters can clog them. That puts stress on the joints that connect the gutter pieces, and those joints can fail. When the joints fail water will back up in the gutters and flow into your home.
Not cleaning the gutters can also cause just as much damage such as cracking and breaking. When that happens, they will need to be replaced, so it’s important that you clean the gutters regularly.
If you have a lot of time on your hands and you’re not afraid of ladders, you might want to try cleaning the gutters yourself. Plan on the job taking several hours to a couple of days depending on how large your home is and how long it’s been since they were cleaned.
In order to clean the gutters yourself, you will need a very high-quality ladder. If your home has multiple stories you will probably need an extension ladder. You will also need:
If you have decided to try and clean the gutters yourself, then you should put on a long-sleeved shirt and the hat to protect yourself from any bugs or critters. You also want to protect yourself from the debris that’s in the gutters.
Prepare the algaecide, mold killer and the soap in several buckets. You might want to use a combination algaecide and mold killer in a spray and just mix up one bucket of soap and hot water. Lay the tarp out on the ground beneath the first area of the gutters that you’re going to clean. Get your ladder ready.
First, you will need to clean out the actual gutters. Start at the top near the roof and work in small sections. Take the scoop, brush, and broom up the ladder with you. Use whatever tool works best to remove all the debris from the gutter.
Usually, the scoop will work the best to remove any large debris like clumps of leaves or insect nests. Once the bulk of the solid material has been removed, use the brush or the broom to clean the rest of the gutter section and get the rest of the debris. You can just knock the debris to the ground. It should land on the tarp and you can clean the tarp later by dumping all the debris in the garbage.
Once all the debris is out, then you’ll have to wash the gutter with the soapy water and a sponge. After you wash it with soap, make sure that you take a few minutes to inspect the gutter and make sure that it hasn’t been damaged by the weather or cracked by anything.
lastly, you’ll want to spray it or wash it down with the algicide and mold killer. Then you can move on to the next section and repeat the process, although you might want to dump the trap in the dumpster between sections if your gutters are very full of debris.
If you find an animal or an insect nest in one of the sections of the gutter, you should leave it alone until you’re sure that you know how to remove it safely. Each section that you clean may require multiple trips up and down the ladder to make sure that safety is a priority and that you’re comfortable on a ladder before you start cleaning.
When you have done every single section of gutter on your home, including the joints and the spouts at the bottom, you can rinse off the tarp and store it with the other equipment until it’s time to clean the gutters again.
Cleaning out the gutters can be dangerous if you’re not used to being up high on a ladder. Your center of gravity will be off if you’re carrying equipment and tools. You will need to be able to hold yourself in an unusual and sometimes uncomfortable position for an extended time in order to really scrub out the gutters.
If you have a second or third story on your home, you might want to have someone help you by holding the ladder on the ground to make sure it’s secure before you climb up to the higher stories of your home. Always take the appropriate safety precautions and if you don’t feel that you can comfortably and safely clean the gutters on your home, then you should consider hiring a professional to do it for you.
For many people, the cost of hiring a professional gutter cleaner is an expense that they are happy to pay. Seniors or people with physical conditions that limit their mobility are much better off hiring trained professionals to clean the gutters on their homes.
And if you don’t usually have a lot of free time you might want to go ahead and hire a professional to clean your gutters. Cleaning the gutters could take you an entire weekend, but it will probably only take a professional an hour or two. You also need to consider the cost of your time and the cost of the equipment that you would need to clean the gutters.
If you already have a good quality ladder and all the other equipment that you would need to clean the gutters then cleaning them yourself might be the best option. But if you would need to buy all that equipment and spend hours of your time, probably on a weekend, cleaning out the gutters.
When you hire a professional gutter cleaning company to come in twice a year to clean the gutters you can relax knowing that your gutters are clean and that your home is protected. For many homeowners, the cost of hiring professionals to clean the gutters is worth the peace of mind they get from knowing the job is done.
If you’re not particularly handy or if you really don’t enjoy home maintenance tasks the best way to make sure that your gutters are cleaned without sacrificing your time or spending a lot of money is to hire trained professional gutter cleaning techs to do the job for you on a regular basis throughout the year.
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