How To Clean Your House’s Gutter, Especially During Rainy Season
You don't want to wait until it's too late.
As the rainy season approaches, it's time to pay attention to an often overlooked yet essential part of our homes–the gutters. These protect your house from damage by redirecting the flow to an area where water cannot go stagnant. To ensure they continue to do their job effectively, a little cleaning and care go a long way. In this article, you’ll know more about some helpful tips on gutter cleaning and care, so you can keep your home in tip-top shape when the rain starts pouring on the roof.
What is a Gutter?
A gutter is a part of your home's roofing system. It is a narrow trough or channel that is usually made of metal, such as aluminum or steel. There are also gutters that are now made of plastic and vinyl, which as alternatives if you're on a budget. Gutters are installed along the edge of the roof, to collect rainwater and redirect it as it flows down from the roof.
Why Gutter Cleaning Matters
Clogged gutters can bring a lot of problems that affect the overall condition of your home and your health. Leaves, twigs, and other debris can pile up and impede the proper water flow, or see rain water cascade down the sides of your house. This could damage your siding, foundation, and even your interior walls. Regularly cleaning your gutters can prevent these issues and save yourself from costly repairs down the road.
Gutter cleaning can also give you a chance to check the areas that may have been damaged due to wear and tear. Regular inspections can help you make important repairs and eventually avoid any major damage to your roof and exterior walls. Cleaning the gutter can also protect your glass windows from water stains and damages. When water is properly redirected to where it should be, it decreases the accumulation of condensation and moisture from these surfaces.
As for health-related concerns, clogged gutters can make water stagnant in spots where water shouldn’t be in the first place. If that happens, the problematic area can be a breeding ground for mosquitoes and termites, among other insects. If left to their own devices, these insects can spread disease in your household while compromising the integrity of the structure.
Preparing to Clean Your Gutters
When to Clean Your Gutters
A sunny day is the best time to tackle this task to ensure that you can easily remove the debris without moisture holding them back. It’s also a great time to do this because there is a decreased risk of falling due to slipping from the ladder, for instance.
Climbing ladders can be risky, so always ensure your ladder is stable and positioned correctly. Have a friend or family member spot you at the foot of a ladder, especially if you're not 100% sure the ladder will hold on its own for the duration of the task. Don't forget to wear your gloves to protect your hands from sharp objects. Also use caution when working near power lines.
Gutter Cleaning Process
Cleaning the gutter is a tedious process that requires thorough preparation. This is to ensure that you'll maximize your time while you're at it. At the same time, it helps you cover most of the areas that require cleaning without compromising your safety. Here are the basic steps:
- Get properly dressed for the task. Ideally, your clothes should be a good balance of comfort and protection. Cotton shirts are great to work in, but long-sleeved ones are even better because they can protect your arms from twigs and other similar stuff from scraping against your skin. In the same manner, work pants and rubber gloves are great to have even before you go up the roof.
- Gather your tools. A sturdy ladder, work gloves, a trowel or scoop, mat or other similar things to cover the ground, a bucket or sack, and a hose with a spray nozzle are great things to start with.
- Spread out the mat where you think the debris and gunk will most likely fall should you be unable to catch them. This is a helpful step when you're about to end this task because it can save you time from gathering the mess.
- Mount the ladder on a stable surface. Take note of the leveling of the ground and the presence of rocks and other things that may make the ladder stable once you start going up. If you have a ladder stabilizer, now is the perfect time to bring it out and use it.
- Manually remove large debris or use the trowel, whichever is more efficient for you at the time. Place the debris in your bucket or sack.
- Use the hose to flush out any remaining gunk, working from the downspout to the opposite end. If there are stubborn gunk, consider increasing the water pressure coming out of the hose to dislodge it.
- Check for any leaks or damaged sections. For this step, you may ask someone you know to check on the presence of leaks and other damages while you're hosing down the gutter. Once you assess the possible problems, prepare your repair kit and make the necessary fixes.
Checking for Leaks and Cracks
To check for leaks and cracks in your gutters, examine them closely after cleaning by doing a water test, similar to flushing down the gunk as mentioned above.
Look for any signs of damage, such as water stains or rust spots. These will give you a clue on where the possible source of the problem may be.
If you notice any leaks or cracks, you can use a silicone sealant or gutter seal tape to patch up the gap. Make sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions and allow the sealant to dry completely before testing it with water again.
It's also a good idea to inspect your gutters regularly throughout the year to catch any issues early on and prevent having more problems in the future. Once a month is a good frequency to get started. Remember, a little maintenance goes a long way in keeping your gutters in top shape.
Maintaining Your Gutters
Clear out any debris that accumulates throughout the year, especially after storms or heavy rainfall. It doesn’t matter if it’s just a “few” debris, what’s important is you keep them in a condition that doesn’t require major fixes in the next few months. After all, seeking professional help because your gutter fell off due to the weight of the debris can be more costly than just cleaning out the area every few weeks or so.
Regularly inspect your gutters for any signs of damage, such as rust, cracks, or loose connections. Address these issues promptly to prevent further damage and ensure the effectiveness of your gutters.
Trim any overhanging branches or foliage near your gutters. This will minimize the amount of debris that can accumulate and potentially clog your gutters. Install gutter guards or screens to help prevent leaves and other debris from entering your gutters (these gutter guards are available on Shopee).
Regularly maintaining your gutters will keep your home protected from water damage. It also ensures that your gutters will stay in top shape for years to come. So, gather your tools, mark your calendar, and give those gutters the TLC they deserve. Your house will thank you, and you'll have peace of mind knowing you've got this home maintenance thing down pat.
Frequently Asked Questions on Cleaning Gutters
1. How often should I clean my gutters?
Ideally, you need to inspect and clean the gutters once a month to prevent mold growth, among other related concerns.
2. Can I clean my gutters myself or should I hire a professional?
This will depend on the availability of materials and equipment. Also take into consideration the experience you have in cleaning gutters and if you have someone to assist you at the time. If you're not feeling confident about it, consider hiring a professional to do the task for you.
3. Why is it important to have gutter guards?
As the name implies, gutter guards are used to prevent debris and other objects from falling directly into your gutters. Thus, there's a lower chance of having your gutters clogged, especially after storms. It also prevents birds and other insects from building nests on the gutters.
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