A How-To on Cleaning Your Gutters

OK, so you have decided cleaning your gutters is important after all and you are planning to tackle the big job this weekend. Here’s what you will need to clean your gutters properly:
  • Gloves
  • A bucket or small plastic garbage bags (to gather debris)
  • Rags
  • Sturdy ladder
  • A hose that reaches up to your gutters

The first cleaning will be the hardest. If your gutters have never been cleaned or it has been a long time, there is likely some thick muck up there that needs to be removed in addition to the leaves and twigs.

Start at one corner of your home and set the ladder about an arm’s length away from the corner downspout. Use your gloved hand to pull the debris away from the downspout. Be careful not to let anything fall into the downspout as it would create a clog (which would also create another To Do item on your list!) Move the ladder and repeat. Be careful about reaching more than an arm’s length away.

Be sure to have a few small plastic shopping bags in your pocket so you can easily grab them. You could use a bucket and bucket hanger for the ladder, it is much easier to handle the small plastic bags. A full bucket or a large garbage bag can get pretty heavy and cumbersome to carry down the ladder. As the smaller shopping bags are full, tie them up and drop to the ground to pick up later. Make sure you drop the bags away from the bottom of the ladder so they are not in your way when you step off the ladder.

If you are worried about dealing with bags up at the top of the ladder, you can toss the debris directly onto the ground. You will need to rake that mess later. Or just drop the handfuls of yuck and muck onto a tarp and shake it into the garbage as it gets full.

With your rags, be sure to wipe all the muck and algae from the bottom of the gutters. That sticky stuff holds debris in the gutters and leads to more maintenance down the road. Once you have a section clean, get the hose and spray down the gutter toward the spout. Once the section is rinsed, you made need to wipe it one more time to make sure all the muck has been removed.

When you are rinsing, look for any pooling water and make sure the water is traveling toward the spout. Checking the pitch will help prevent any ice dams from forming this winter and causing all kinds of trouble. You can also watch for any leaks while you are rinsing. If you do find leaks, a silicone sealant will easily patch the leak.

Once your gutters are properly maintained, the next time, you may just be able to blow them out with a leaf blower.

Moving this task to the bottom of your To Do list can be very costly and really, having a gutter system that is not maintained is, in most cases, worse than having no gutters at all.

A final note: If you do contact Connell’s or another service provider to clean your gutters for you and you are unable to climb up a ladder to inspect the job, ask for photographs of the completed project to ensure the gutters have been cleaned properly.