Rain gutters direct water away from your home’s foundation when working properly. The opposite can happen when leaves, twigs, and debris clog the gutters instead. Cleaning out your gutters is a seasonal chore that should happen every fall at least. Professionally installed rain gutter covers can prevent all of this work by keeping leaves out from the start. Until you have your covers installed, follow these steps to safely clean your rain gutters a few times a year also may want some other roofing and repair services in Baltimore to make sure your roof is in good shape.
Look for Damage
Start by strolling around the house and visually checking for obvious signs of damage to the gutters. Loose hangers, odd angles, and disconnected drain pipes all need repair while you’re cleaning. If you’re not sure how to handle these repairs yourself, call a professional. Since the gutters are attached to the edges of a home’s roof, incorrect installation or repairs could damage the roof. Professional home repairs keep your gutters working properly without risking damage to any other part of the home.
Get a Reliable Ladder
If you’re wondering how to clean rain gutters by hand, you’ll need to get a sturdy and safe ladder first. Find one that can reach the height of your gutters plus another two to three feet. You can’t stand on the very top step of a ladder, so the extra height provides easy access to the gutters. Most homes are tall enough that homeowners need extending ladders to reach their gutters. If you’re dealing with gutters installed higher than three stories, you’re best off leaving that chore to the professionals. Clear the areas where you’ll place the ladder as you move around your home, and aim for reinforced, level areas like patios and pathways. Soil and grass can sink or settle while you’re on the ladder and cause it to move. Ask someone to hold the base of the ladder and act as a spotter if possible, which is how to clean rain gutters as safely as possible.
How to Clean Rain Gutters Without Special Tools
Once you climb up high enough to reach the gutters, look at what’s accumulated in the trough. A thick pair of gloves helps you clean out leaves and small debris by hand. If there are stubborn clogs or prickly tree seeds, a nylon three-pronged garden tool or a kitchen spatula can help you remove material without touching it. Stick to plastic or rubber tools and avoid metal that could scratch or puncture the gutters. Make sure to spray for wasps if there are any nests on the underside of your gutters before climbing up. You don’t want to try removing stinging pests while on top of a ladder. Avoid the use of cleaning tools like:
- Telescoping rakes or squeegee-type tools that can damage your gutters and often fail to remove all the debris
- High-pressure water sprayers that claim to let you clean your gutters from the ground, which often result in damaged or loose gutters instead
- Vacuums that claim to suck out gutter debris, but which actually get clogged with any twigs or other large items.
Rinse Out the Gutters
After a thorough cleaning, a small amount of dirt and dust may still linger at the bottom of the gutters. Bringing up a garden hose and gently rinsing the gutters will clean them out entirely while helping you check for leaks and clogs in the downspouts. A rinse doubles as a water test for verifying the function of the gutter system. Since you’re already on the ladder for the cleaning, you might as well do a little inspection at the same time. Note any suspected leaks or incorrect slopes that cause water to run back so you can have a professional can make any gutter repairs.
EC Roofing & Home Services can install new seamless gutters, rain gutter covers, and any other additions your home needs. If you’re wondering how to clean rain gutters, let us handle the hard work. Once we install a set of covers on your gutters, you’ll never have to worry about cleaning them again. Call us today at 410.237.8046 to schedule a visit from one of our team members.