Reasons to Clean Your Gutters
Your gutter system directs rainwater to flow off the roof and away from your home’s exterior.
Gutters keep the foundation, walls, and roof protected so that you don’t end up with a wet basement, interior or exterior water damage, or a leaky roof. Debris-filled gutters can begin to sag and pull away from the home, and also attract pests and rodents.
Clean the gutters at least twice annually. Turn it into a regular practice at the beginning of each spring and fall.
Determine Whether Your Gutters Need Cleaning or Replacement
Before you start to clean your gutters, evaluate if they need to be repaired or replaced. Here are the signs to look for:
- Rust & paint damage: Rust or peeled paint means that water has been sitting in the gutters. Touch up any areas with new paint.
- Splits or cracks: Fix any cracks or splits before they allow water to seep into the foundation, shingles, or the boards behind your gutters.
- Water stains: Look for water damage underneath gutters on a dry, sunny day. Any sections of the guttering showing this issue most likely need to be replaced.
- Sagging gutters: Don’t wait until the gutters are pulling away from your home. Sagging gutters typically need to be completely replaced.
Basic Guidelines for How to Clean Gutters
Don’t clean gutters right after rainfall. It’s better to make sure that all gutter debris is dry enough to easily remove it. Begin cleaning near the downspout and continue working toward the closed end of the system.
Use two buckets; one bucket for your tools and the second bucket for the debris you’ll scoop out. Hook the buckets to your ladder so that you aren’t trying to hold onto them as you work.
Invest in safety glasses and use work gloves pulled over rubber gloves. The glasses will protect your eyes from splashed dirt and the gloves protect your hands from bacteria. Use a gutter scoop or trowel for compacted debris that isn’t easily removed by hand.
Flush the Gutters
Use a hose to flush all remaining dirt and debris after you’ve removed as much as possible by hand.
Fit a powerful spray nozzle on the hose so that you get plenty of force flowing through the gutters. Start at the far end of the system and flow the water out through the downspout. Be careful that you don’t spray water underneath your roof’s shingles.
Finally, make sure the water is flowing freely from the downspout. Remove any downspout blockages by spraying the hose nozzle directly down the spout until there are no obstructions.
Now that you know how to clean gutters, be sure to complete this task consistently each year to extend the lifespan of the entire drainage system.