It’s common in the fall for your rain gutters to get clogged with leaves, pine needles, twigs, and other debris. It’s also the beginning of the wet season in Oregon. If you don’t clean your rain gutters in the fall, they will not do their job of catching rainwater and directing it away from your home. Read on for some helpful tips to make gutter cleaning a little easier.
Preparing to Clean Your Rain Gutters
As you clean your rain gutters, the task of removing wet leaves and dirt will no doubt be messy. Since the debris of leaves and dirt makes great mulch for plants. consider tossing the debris onto a plastic tarp below so that it can be collected later for gardening. Placing a tarp down below also protects your lawn so you don’t have to clean up any debris that you remove from the gutters.
You will also need a high step ladder or extended ladder depending on how high up your gutters are. Hooking a couple of buckets to the ladder can free up your hands. One bucket can hold what you need with you: gloves, safety glasses, a trowel or scoop, etc. The other can be used to hold the gutter debris if you are in a position where you can’t toss it down to the tarp.
Clean Your Rain Gutters by Scooping them Out
After making certain that the ladder is on a solid, flat surface, climb up the ladder you are using with the secured buckets. If the debris is wet and muddy, wear latex gloves under your work gloves to keep your hands dry as you clean the rain gutters. Remove the debris by tossing it onto a tarp or into a bucket. Then, use a hose to flush out the remaining leaves, twigs, and dirt as you aim the spray of water toward the downspout.
Inspect the Rain Gutters and Downspouts for Leaks and Damage
By using the hose, you’ll see any leaks or failure of the water to drain properly if the gutters are not tilting slightly toward the downspout as they should. If the water is slow to drain through the downspout, run a hose up the downspout to flush out debris that is blocking the water. If a hose is too large or the water does not clear the downspout, run a snaking device through the spout. Then, reattach the downspout and flush again.
Make Repairs After Your Clean the Rain Gutters
Once the gutters are cleared of debris, you may notice that some of the gutter spikes have come loose and need replacing so that the gutter will slant toward the downspout as it should. Scrape away the old caulking on the gutters with a chisel. After drying the area, apply gutter seal at the joints and corners. Doing this will stop water from rotting the boards of the roof as it goes behind the rain gutters. Some people also install gutter screens which effectively prevent much of the debris from getting into the gutters.
If you forget to clean your rain gutters when fall comes around, you risk water coming into your home and the possibility of mold growth. Taking a day to complete this task is worth it when you consider how much your gutters protect your home from precipitation.
Exercise caution when cleaning your rain gutters. It’s always a good idea to have someone else at home to help stabilize the ladder. Click here to read some more safety tips for cleaning gutters.