A Necessary Evil
Not many people raise their hands when someone asks, “who likes to clean gutters?” The task of pulling out leaves, twigs, and debris might not be fun, but it’s crucial for home maintenance. Clogged gutters can cause expensive roof, wall, foundation, or landscaping damage.
You might not ever jump and up and down with excitement to clean gutters, but there are ways to make it easier on yourself. These tips reduce stress, sweat, and hopefully, eliminate expensive clogs.
Get an Assistant
Enlist a partner, spouse, friend, or teenager to help clean gutters. Whether it’s holding the ladder, moving a tarp, or handing up tools, an extra set of eyes and hands is an absolute must. Roofs and ladders are inherently dangerous, so make sure it’s someone you trust.
Follow a Regular Schedule
Gutters generally need cleaning twice a year. Once before the leaves fall and once after. However, the landscaping around the home makes a big difference. A home surrounded by trees may need the gutters cleaned four to six times per year. Someone who lives in the desert may clean out sand only once a year. Set reminders on your phone, or write down a reminder on a calendar.
Related: 10 Reasons to Mind Your Gutters Year-Round
Invest in Gutter Guards or Covers
Guards and covers prevent debris from entering gutters and downspouts. Many different designs on the market like the Raptor Gutter Guard or the Lock-In Gutter Guards, both on Amazon, prevent large debris like leaves and sticks from creating clogs.
Smaller, less expensive gutter guards like the Joylight Filter Strainers or the Kraftex Gutter Guards, are also both on Amazon. These guards protect the downspout entrance rather than covering every square inch of the gutter.
Use Water Power
You can blast out debris while standing on the roof with a pressure washer. However, use the pressure washer on a low setting, so the gutters aren’t damaged. Check all of the gutter hardware before you start to make sure there aren’t any loose screws that could break under pressure.
Related: 5 Ways Clogged Gutters Are Destroying Your Home
Suck It In
Put that shop vac to good use with a gutter cleaning kit. If the manufacturer of your shop vac doesn’t make a gutter cleaning kit, look for a universal kit with at least a 2.5-inch opening. Most shop vacs give you a couple of options—suck in the leaves and gunk or blow it out by switching the direction of the air flow.
Blow It Away
Not to be left out, leaf blowers can also double as gutter cleaners. Some manufacturers make gutter kits that fit their blowers. There are also universal gutter cleaning kits for blowers, complete with extension wands and angled tubing. Some kits have enough extensions to eliminate the need for a ladder.
Invest in the Right Tools
The traditional method of cleaning the gutters is sometimes the best route. But if you’re going to do it, use the right equipment to keep yourself, others, and the gutters safe. A sturdy ladder, gutter scoop or garden trowel, gloves, protective eye gear, and a tarp on which to toss debris will get you started.
Trim or Cut Down Trees Near the Roofline
In football and in gutters, offense is your best defense. Trim branches and trees near the roofline to prevent leaves and debris from falling in the gutters in the first place. The wind will carry debris into the gutters no matter what you do, but maintaining your landscaping can reduce the number of times you need to pull out debris.
Regularly Inspect the Gutters Year Round
Gutters can get clogged shockingly fast. Look for ice dams in the winter, loose gutters, broken downspouts, and other problems during each inspection. Sometimes staying ahead of the game will save you some sweat later on.
Related: 6 Signs You Need New Gutters
If you have the money to hire a handyman for every household woe, go ahead. But if you want to hang on to your cash and exercise some self-sufficiency, check out these clever products that solve a million and one little problems around the house. Go now!