Cleaning Gutters and Downspouts

How to Clean Rain Gutters and Downspouts

Your house’s rain gutters and downspouts are its best defense against the rain. If they are plugged up, you can have some serious problems.

It doesn’t take much to clean them if you do it regularly. You may need to call a professional if you let it go too far. If you are going to clean them yourself, make sure to do it safely. Here are some things to keep in mind when you do.

  1. Use a safe ladder that is secured properly. Hundreds of people die annually due to falls from ladders. The first step in any construction project is to be mindful of safety hazards. Make sure the legs of the ladder are securely on the ground. Ask someone to brace it for you if they are available.
  2. To keep from damaging your gutters, use standoff stabilizers, or ladder horns. The one pictured below is a common type that will do the trick.

Handyman tips on rain gutters

  1. After securing a position above the gutters, take a good look at them. Pull out debris where it has accumulated. The decomposed leaves that fill gutters is a great mulch for plants. Spread some in your garden if you’d like.
  2. Once your view is unobstructed, inspect the spikes that go through the gutter and fascia board into the rafter. Often, these spikes miss the rafter entirely because they can work themselves out of the hole. If you need to, purchase and install new spikes, or call a professional. Check the rest of the gutters for damage or leaks while you’re there, too.

Always Look for Rafter and Gutter Damage

  1. After the larger debris has been removed, use a power washer or strong water hose to push the debris up and out of the gutters. Make sure the debris ends up somewhere it won’t cause any future harm. The pressure washer won’t harm the gutters if they are properly secured and in good shape. Be careful not to hit your shingles with the washer. At the right angle and pressure, you could take them off.

If you spot any leaks, make sure to get them repaired, or replace that gutter section. The water coming from your downspouts should be a safe distance from the house and not pooling. You can do serious damage to your basement if the water is too close.

Maintaining your gutters doesn’t take too much work and is absolutely necessary. If you’re not the ladder-climbing type, call someone who is. It doesn’t cost much to have some pros do it. They can do any repairs that may come up along the way, too.

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