The rather unloved task of cleaning out and regularly maintaining gutters is one that is frequently overlooked. High up and often hard to reach – the chore of cleaning out your gutters can be a frustrating one – but if you want to keep your home in the best possible condition – you shouldn’t let a little hard work put you off.
Without properly working gutters, the exterior of your home can become extremely compromised, leading to excessive maintenance issues and expensive repairs. The reason for this is that gutters:
- Prevent water from draining into the basement and interior walls of your home
- Reduce the chance of water settling through the foundation of your property
- Prevent excessive damage to woodwork, exterior paint, fascia, and walls
- Guide rainwater away from your home instead of allowing it to gather on your roof
It’s safe to say that water can cause a wide range of different and distressing problems once it starts to pervade your home. Mould may start to grow – causing health problems, while woodwork perishes, damp patches spread, condensation forms, and brickwork erodes. With that in mind, here is a quick guide on how to clean your gutters and maintain them over time.
- Start By Removing Loose Debris
Starting at the lowest point of your gutter, use a garden trowel or narrow instrument to carefully scrape out and remove any loose debris like dirt and leaves – working outwards from the drain outlet. This is usually easier to manage when the debris in question is pliable and damp rather than dried or soggy.
- Use A Hose On Gutters
Next, once the debris has been removed, use a high-pressure on-off nozzle at the end of a water hose to clean out the full length of your gutter, moving towards the drain outlet. Remember that this part of the job can be somewhat messy, so try to avoid covering the outside of your home in dirt. You can always use a stiff brush to scrub away encrusted dirt if necessary.
- Get Rid Of Drainpipe Obstructions
If you find that water has trouble draining easily through your drainpipes, try using your hose to flush the debris away. If that doesn’t work by itself, try using a snake or plumbers auger to pull the debris free from the bottom, or push it to the top of the drain.
Maintaining Your Gutters
Maintaining gutters starts with inspecting them on a regular basis. You should examine the state of your gutters during autumn and spring to make sure that no damage has taken place, and that debris hasn’t been allowed to build up too much. From time to time, you may find that you have to loosen away dirt that has blown into the gutter, or scrub it away with a stiff brush. What’s more, flushing your gutters now and again will clear away material that has been lodged in downspouts and eave troughs.
Occasionally, you may need to adjust the sloping of your gutter to ensure that the water moves towards the downspouts efficiently. To check whether this needs to be done, simply run water through the system and measure how quickly the liquid drains. If necessary, you’ll be able to add downspout extenders to improve the removal of water.
Another good tip is to frequently check your downspouts for peeling paint, rust, flaking, and leaks. Make sure that they remain tightly affixed to the fascia boards and don’t begin to break away at any point – especially after storms or bad weather. Don’t forget to check the fascia boards too to avoid any dry rot or other damage, and be prepared to replace them when necessary.
Be Wary Of
During your maintenance cycles, be wary of:
- Weak joints around the gutter sections and downpipes.
- Blocked downpipes that need to be cleared to operate efficiently – leaf guards may be useful here.
- Insufficient outlet capacity – some older systems can only handle rainfall of low volumes – increasing your outlets can help to ensure that rainfall drains well from your gutters.
- Corrosion – Remove any grime or rust as quickly as possible to see what lies beneath – rust can create small holes in the guttering which make it ineffective over time.