Let’s face it: no one wants to clean their home’s gutters and downspouts. It's important to tackle this project at least twice a year (especially in the fall) to keep your gutters and downspouts flowing freely. Even if you aren’t experiencing overflowing or flooding, decaying leaves and debris can be a breeding ground for carpenter ants and mosquitoes.
There are a variety of ways to clean your home’s gutters, and a wide selection of gadgets out there to make the job easier. When it comes down to it, the best method is getting up on a ladder and doing it by hand. If you don’t feel comfortable up on a ladder or have a taller home, call in a professional.
If you go the DIY route, all you'll need is a garden trowel, garbage bag, work gloves and a ladder. Once you're steady, it's time to start scooping. Hang your lawn bag from the ladder to make discarding leaves easy. For stubborn debris, use a power washer on low or a high pressure garden hose to spray and clean gutters. Always remember to work your way toward the downspout and try to avoid spraying your siding – it'll only create another mess to clean up.
While you're up there, it might be a good time to think about general gutter maintenance. If you encounter any leaks, mark them to make patching up the holes easier down the line. Notice any sagging? You can use gutter screws to help secure them to prevent potential leaking and unsightly drooping. Lastly, installing a screen or cover can help drastically reduce the amount of debris that makes it into your home's gutter system. It's not perfect though, so be sure to check every so often.
Keeping your gutters clean and clear is important to prevent water backups that'll ruin your home's siding or foundation. Cleaning them yourself is typically the easiest (and definitely the most cost effective), but if you're weary of heights, calling in the pros is always an option.