Since early spring, Mother Nature has had a glorious party in your yard. Now that it’s autumn and everything is winding down, you’re left with quite a bit of “morning after” cleaning to do. If you have trees on your property, it’s very likely that your gutters are full of dead leaves. Worse still, if you haven’t cleaned them in a while, some seedlings may have even taken root in the decomposing mulch. Before winter arrives, you should clean your gutters or you might find yourself with an unplanned rooftop garden and possibly mosquitos or carpenter ants. Here are 3 important tips for autumn gutter cleaning.
1) Prevention – Learn What Can Harm Your Gutters
Most homeowners know what can happen when gutters get clogged with debris. If gutters overflow, water can run down the side of your house, causing water to gather around your foundation. This might lead to basement flooding, rotting wood, and other damage to your home’s structural integrity. Freezing water can cause ice dams to form on the roof which might lead to water seeping into your home. If these ice dams are large and heavy enough, they might even loosen the gutters and rot your house’s siding and trim. What else can damage your gutters? In addition to ice dams, there could be an insect infestation, stains from frequent overflowing and damage from trees and storms. Leaning a ladder against a gutter for cleaning can also damage them.
2) How to Easily Clean Your Gutter
For homes that are only a single level and so long as the debris isn’t too packed in, you can clean the gutters yourself using a gutter cleaning tool on an extension pole. If your gutters haven’t been cleaned in a while, you might need to use a ladder to reach the roof and scoop out the plant material with a plastic scoop. Plastic is best so that you don’t damage the gutter by scraping with a metal tool. Use your garden hose with an adjustable pistol-grip spray nozzle so that you can dislodge and clear out further debris. You will also need to ensure that downspouts are not clogged by spraying water down them and making sure they don’t back up. When cleaning gutters and downspouts, you should use heavy work gloves and protective eyewear at all times. There’s no telling what might have taken up residence in the mulch.
3) How to Know When You Need a Professional
There are times when the job is too big and you should call in a professional to clean your gutters. Some considerations are the height of the house, the condition of your gutter and downspouts and how comfortable you are on a ladder. If the gutters haven’t been cleaned in more than a year or if you have a multi-level home with gutter sections that are difficult to reach without walking on the roof, you should hire a professional. Someone who is knowledgeable about gutter systems will be able to inspect all the various sections and fittings, to let you know if anything is rusting and should be replaced. If you live in a heavily wooded area or have a lot of trees on your property, they will also be able to provide information about gutter covers that might reduce the risk of clogging.