Keeping gutters clean is
a task that is so often over looked—and yet so important. Why?
Because of Mother Nature’s gifts of rain and fire.
first—rain—is obvious: when it rains heavily, blocked gutters will
overflow in all the places you don’t want them to. The kind of
damage this can do in even a short amount of time is remarkable.
Water leaking onto roofs and down walls can cause thousands of
dollars worth of damage. Over the long term, mold is a potential
problem that’s not just smelly, but dangerous to you and your
family’s health, and again, it can cost thousands of dollars to
eradicate once it gets going.
reason to clean your gutters is that it just might save your
life—especially if your property backs onto a park or woodland. Even
if you’re a city dweller, gutters full of dried leaves are a
tinderbox waiting to ignite. Dried leaves will accelerate the pace
of any fire and could make the difference between saving your house,
other people’s houses, and even lives.
your drains—it’s easy and can save thousands. Do it twice a year at
least. A leaf blower is an easy way to go. You can also use a hose,
though you have to decide if wasting a bunch of water is less
environmentally friendly then running a motor. Use a trowel to
remove leaves, twigs, and other debris. Be sure to use a ladder and
climb up to check the full length of the gutters. Just one little
spot left un-cleaned can result in a backup.
gutters and downspouts clean so that rain falling on the roof is
directed well away from the foundation. Almost all wet-basement
problems arc the direct result of water collecting near the
foundation of a house, a situation often caused by clogged and
overflowing gutters and downspouts.
slope of gutters with a level, and adjust them, if necessary.
Gutters should angle toward the downspouts so water flows freely
rather than hanging out in the gutters and encouraging buildup and
Test your cleanup job. You must waste a bit of
water to test your gutters and downspouts. But don’t worry. . .
wasting a little now will help you save a lot more in the future.
Put a hose at the top corner of your gutter and make sure that the
water flows freely down the downspout.
If you have minor leaks in your gutters, you can use a gutter
patching kit to make temporary repairs. However, if there is a big
leak or a lot of damage, you will need to replace the entire
section of gutter. Read the manufacturer’s recommendations and
directions before purchasing a gutter repair kit. Grab the one that
makes the most sense for the climate you live in, and follow the
Don’t have a trowel? Try
cutting a rectangular motor-oil container into a scoop. It is just
the right size and fits into your hand perfectly.
If there is a clog in the
downspout, try prying it free with the handle of a broom. Test with
water from a hose. If you still have a clog, try some homemade water
You can go a step further
and shield gutters with mesh gutter guards to prevent future clogs.