August 16, 2015 Guest Post
When it comes to home improvement and house care projects, gutter and downspout care is often overlooked. That shouldn’t be surprising; cleaning your gutters is not exactly the most glamorous job, and well-maintained gutters aren’t something your neighbors and friends will compliment you on the way they will with your pretty lawn, fresh paint job, or new walkway. Still, despite the fact that cleaning your gutters and downspouts is easily forgotten, it is an important job for any home owner or resident intent on keeping their house in proper condition.
Thankfully for you, it’s a quick and easy job that can save you thousands of dollars—what’s not to like? In this post, we’ll explain why you need to care for your gutters, how to do it, and provide a few safety tips. If while you perform your gutter cleaning you discover any problems with your gutters or roof, make sure to contact a reputable contractor like St Louis Roofing to have repairs made as soon as possible.
Why gutter and downspout maintenance is important
Some people think that gutters simply serve the purpose of keeping rain from dripping off of the roof and onto their heads when they’re walking through the front door, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. In reality, gutters keep your house safe from the dangers of water. If you don’t clean out your gutters and downspouts, the debris that they collect will clog the drainage, which forces rainwater to find new ways to escape. This means water will either drain through your ceiling or flow over onto your paneling. Both of these scenarios will result in rot damage to your home, which subsequently will result in thousands of dollars in repairs.
In addition to hurting your roof or your walls, clogged gutters and downspouts can collect so much water that they break under the weight, either by snapping in half or by disconnecting from your home. The cost of replacing your gutters and downspouts is far more than the cost of simply keeping them clean and well maintained.
How to clean your gutters and downspouts
Cleaning your gutters and downspouts is very simple: just get on a ladder so that you’re high enough to reach inside the gutters, and then remove all of the leaves and debris that have accumulated there. The key to gutter maintenance is making sure that you do it frequently enough. If you live in an area with few trees, you only have to clean your gutters once every year or two (but you still have to clean them; you’d be surprised what will make its way into them). If you live in an area with more trees, you need to take care of your gutters at least twice a year. The best times to clean out your gutters are fall (so that they’re clean before the rain of winter comes) and spring (after all the storms have ended).
When you are cleaning debris out from your gutters, make sure that you reach into the downspout as far as you safely can. Debris often gets washed into the downspout and can clog up the top.
Some people aren’t very comfortable on ladders, which is perfectly understandable. It’s important to know when to call a professional. Having someone else clean your gutters is very affordable, so don’t do it yourself if you aren’t comfortable. If you do clean them yourself, though, make sure to use a locking ladder on a secure surface. For houses with relatively flat roofs, you can also increase safety by sitting on the roof instead of staying on the ladder.
It’s also important that you find a way to get rid of the debris in a safe manner. Some people try to carry garbage bags or bins with them while they work, which is unsafe. If you’re comfortable on a ladder, attach a plastic bag to the ladder, and dump your debris in there (just make sure you don’t get one of your limbs caught in the bag when you move). If you’re less comfortable on a ladder, just dump the debris straight onto the ground, and deal with it when you’re off the ladder (or you can tarp the ground ahead of time to expedite the cleaning).
With these tips, you should be ready to keep your gutters and downspouts clean, and your wallet heavy!
This article was written by home improvement blogger Jared Miret. Jared enjoys DIY, garage conversions, custom pipe bending, and drinking beers in his epic man cave.