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Clean Out Your Gutters

Written by; Chad Simco / TCCN Staff Writer
Added on: Tue Sep 29 2009


Spring and fall are the best times of year to clean out your house's gutters. The more debris clogging them up, the more rainwater will splash over the sides of the gutters, presenting the risk of damage to the roof, the fascia, and even your homes basement or crawl space if it ends up right next to the house when it reaches the ground.

To clean out your gutters, you'll need the following equipment:

1) A garden trowel
2) Ladder (preferably a step ladder, though a two story house may need an extension ladder)
3) 2 buckets with bucket hooks
4) Garden hose with attachment
5) Gloves
6) Safety glasses

If you want to make minor repairs to your gutter, you will need: Gutter sealant

Safety precautions:

1) Do not put your ladder within reach of power lines.
2) Use a stepladder if possible and never go on or above the second to last step from the top.
3) Do not carry tools in your pocket. Carry them in one of the two buckets instead.

The cleaning process:

Wearing gloves, scoop debris out of the gutter using your garden trowel. Dump the debris into the bucket you're not carrying tools in. After you've scooped the gutter clear from one downspout to another, use your garden hose to rinse the gutters out.

If water backs up from the downspout, it may mean you have a clog there. To break up clogs in the downspout, from the ground, run the garden hose up into the downspout and see if you can loosen it. If this doesn't work, you can try using a plumber's snake. If this doesn't work, you may need to disconnect sections of the downspout until you find the clog and can clear it out. But you probably won't have to do that.

Once all the clogs are gone, go back up the ladder and rinse out the gutter one more time. Check for standing water. Standing water could mean that your gutters don't have the right slope to them. Usually, gutters have a very slight incline of one quarter inch for every ten feet of guttering so that the water will flow.

If you have standing water, you'll have to decide if you can reposition them correctly or if you'd rather call a professional to do the job. That's for a different DIY story, though.

Leaks around downspouts can be repaired with gutter sealant, but wait until the gutters have had a chance to dry out for a couple of days. On leaky areas where gutters are joined together, put a bead of sealant all on all the seams. The same is true for leaks around the end caps.

Remember to always use caution when performing any DIY project, and make sure your work area is clean and your ladder is dry to prevent a slipping hazard.

If you don't feel comfortable with any DIY task, consult a trade professional. You can find many right here at TCCN, in our local business directory.

Otherwise, happy cleaning! Job well done!


Copyright: 2009

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