How to clean gutters? Is a question that millions of people ponder every year. Within the realms of this article I aim to answer this question and provide you with a whole host of tips, in order to make your job very much easier.
Ladders - When cleaning gutters, first-things-first you'll most probably need a ladder. Firstly, you'll need one that will comfortably reach the gutter, so you're not stretching too much (which can be very dangerous). Secondly see to it that you don't lean the ladder against the guttering because this may lead to fracturing. Next see to it that the ladder is free from damage and finally secure it safely to prevent movement.
Debris - Remove any debris from the gutter, this may be in the form of leaves, twigs, moss or a dead pigeon. This task can be completed by using a gutter scoop, a trowel or even a large domestic spoon, difficult to remove debris can be removed carefully by the first two tools.
Place debris in a bag - In my opinion, placing debris from the gutter into a plastic bin bag is far better than placing it in a bucket. When you have filled the bag you can tie it then drop it. However ensure there are no people or cats walking past at the time the dropping takes place.
Disposing of debris - As most of - if not all - of the debris is biodegradable, then this will make good fodder for your compost heap (see our Recycling Involvement article for tips on how to make your own compost). It should be noted that if you're planning on going down the compost heap route then you'll need to use a seperate bag to dispose of the non-biodegradable items you find such as nails, tiles, plastic bags etc
If you don't want to try your hand at making your own compost then you can dispose of the debris the same way as you would do for household waste.
Deal with downspouts - When you have followed the above tasks on how to clean gutters see to it that the downspouts (the vertical pipe which carries the rainwater away )are not blocked. Unblocking downspouts can be acheived by forcing water up it by carefully placing a garden hose in the opening. If you find that after doing this that the downspout is still blocked then use a plumbers snake or an unraveled coathanger to remove what's causing the blockage. It must be noted that you should take care here, as some drains can be pretty flimsy and may fracture if you're too heavy handed.
Leaf blower - Alternatively, if you don't want to use the garden hose to clean gutters then you can use a leaf blower, however I must admit the trowel and hose method is the way I much prefer. Leaf blowers can become cumbersome especially when being used at the top of a ladder.
Repair damage - When considering how to clean gutters you should also take into account damage to them. While you're in the process of cleaning gutters keep your eye out for any damage and repair it straight away. Damage to the guttering system will diminish the efficiency levels of it.
Maintain gutters and downspouts - It's very important to consider the maintenance of your guttering system in the overall scheme of learning how to clean gutters. This is because doing so will mean fewer episodes of damage to the gutter and downspout, and could even treble the life of your guttering system, which - in turn - will save you money.
You should aim to inspect your gutter and downspout at least twice a year However the more trees you have near-by the more often inspection should take place. In my opinion the best time to undertake inspection is March (after the winter and before the wet spring weather) and mid-October (during the autumn months, so fallen leaves and twigs can be removed)
When you're inspecting see to it that the gutter is pitched at an effecient angle for rainwater flow. Drains which are pitched wrongly will just end up causing most of the problems associated with poor drainage, including build up of debris and accelerating the onset of rust.
No matter what type of gutter you have at some point you'll need to repair them. If larger leaks appear then you will probably have to replace entire sections of the guttering system, however for smaller leaks the following tips may be applied.
The first thing you need to do, to repair a gutter that has been eroded by rust is to scrape off the rust with a steel brush. Once you have removed as much of the rust as possible you'll need to cover the section with and anti-rust paint. When the paint has dried, cover the (small) hole with 0.3cm of plastic cement, alternatively you can use ordinary roof cement.
For larger holes, just follow the same procedures as above but while the cement is still wet apply plastic or heavy aluminium foil to the area, but ensure that you cut your material of choice to the size of the repair area. When you are satisfied with this stage of the job, press down hard on the material, to make sure that it fits firmly.
If you need to join more than one patch toghether see to it that you overlap (using cement) them in the direction of the rainwater flow otherwise you'll disrupt the drainage system.
I hope you found this article on How to Clean Gutters useful. Why not check out our related cleaning articles. Thanks for reading.
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