Gutters channel water away from your house, helping to prevent ice dams in the winter, as well as water damage to your home's foundation. Gutters can collect debris, becoming so clogged that water will no longer move through them. The more frequently you clean gutters, the less clogged they will become between cleanings. When cleaning your gutters be sure to wear safety goggles and rubber gloves from start to finish.
Climb and Scoop
The most straightforward way to clean gutters is to place a ladder against your house, climb high enough to see into the gutters, scoop out and discard all debris. Begin at the farthest end of the house, working your way toward the downspout. Use a garden hose to rinse the gutters.
Flush the Downspout
Flush the downspout with the hose, and the debris should come out the bottom. If the downspout is so clogged that it cannot be flushed, you will need to insert a probe into the downspout to dislodge the clog. A "plumber's snake," available at most hardware stores, works well for this. Also use this opportunity to make any repairs to your gutters. Replace any missing nails or screws, and repair any cracks or leaks using silicone caulk.
Garden Hose Attachments
If you don't have a ladder or would prefer not to use one, attachments are available for your garden hose for gutter cleaning. They are approximately five feet long, curved at the top and available at most hardware stores. Using the attachment, stand on the ground, place the curved end into the gutter and flush with water all along the gutter. If you have a clogged downspout you may insert the plumber's snake from the bottom to push out debris.
As with most things, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Consider installing some form of screen or barrier that will block debris from entering your gutters, while allowing water to flow freely. Consult an adviser at your local hardware store to determine which style best meets your needs.
How to Clean Gutters
Procedure for cleaning gutters and downspouts, including tips on ladder safety and the proper tools to use.
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