Spring cleaning is underway in many houses. While it is important to clean inside the house, the outside of your house could also use some love. Often siding and gutters can take on more mess than we would like. In fact, it can often feel like the appearance of gutters can take away from the overall appeal of a home. If you are about to tackle your gutters, we want to help. Here are some tips for spring cleaning the gutters.
Tips for Spring Cleaning the Gutters
Before we start talking about cleaning the gutters, it’s important to understand why gutters get as dirty as they do. They are getting contaminated run-off and organic growth on them. The problem with these two things is that they are electrostatically bound to the aluminum in the gutters. That electrostatic cling can make it incredibly difficult to clean the gutters off! You will want a bleach-free and acid-free alternative cleaning option that will break that electromagnetic bond and make cleaning much easier!
Why should you clean the gutters?
The gutter system can control the flow of rainwater from the roof. Controlling this water flow will protect the home’s roof, walls, foundation, and landscaping. Gutters that are not cleaned regularly can lead to sagging gutters, mold growth, a leaky roof, wet basements, and water damage to the interior or exterior of your home. Gutters filled with debris can also make homes for rodents and pests you don’t want near your home. If you are neglecting gutter maintenance and cleaning it could become a costly repair in the future.
Have a plan for safety
When most people think of cleaning gutters, they think of climbing a ladder propped on their house or next to their house. With over 500,000 falls and 300 deaths a year from falling off of ladders, it is important to keep safety in mind. Instead of using a ladder, it can help to research tools that will help you safely do the job. Gutters can have an unusual shape so you will want to make sure you are picking out a gutter cleaning tool that conforms to the shape of the gutters. If you are using a ladder, make sure to have a plan for how to safely use it to lower your risk of a fall.
How often do gutters need to be cleaned?
The frequency you clean your gutters will depend greatly on the foliage around your home. For some, cleaning the gutters can happen twice a year. If you have many trees and taller plants near your gutters, you will want to do this every three months. This can include the inside of the gutters as well as the outside of the gutters. Many places will recommend taking a look at the overall appearance of the gutters. If they are starting to look worn down or dirty it may be time for cleaning your gutters.
Do harsh chemical products need to be part of the process?
When looking at the residue on gutters, many homeowners will assume that harsh chemical products are the only option to truly clean the mess up. This is actually a myth that is shared far too often. Using hazardous or harsh chemical products is not necessary and can actually damage your gutters while cleaning them. The dirt that is stuck onto gutters often can be removed with a product that is designed to break the electromagnetic bond of the dirt to the gutter. These products will leave you feeling good about the teeth whitening for your gutters while also knowing you are being environmentally safe.
Dress for the Job
Cleaning out the gutters can be a dirty job. You are cleaning out months of debris, dirt, and leaves that have accumulated. Take some time to pick out clothes that you don’t mind getting dirty. This can include long sleeves, heavy-duty gloves, shoes that can get wet, and long pants. The goal is to wear clothes that can handle the mud and gunk. It is also important to wear proper eye protection as sometimes debris can end up in your eyes even if you are being careful.
Protect the Workspace
Are you cleaning out your gutters over an area that you want to stay looking nice? To avoid adding messes you will have to clean later, using an item such as a tarp to catch debris can be a big help. Not only will this catch items that might fall, but it will also prevent you from having mud splatter on sidewalks and planters in the work area. It can also help to move items like planters and lawn ornaments that are close to the home while cleaning out the gutters. Taking some time before you start work will save you a great deal of time when you are done with gutter cleaning.
Include Repairs in Your Process
When cleaning the gutters you may find areas that have been damaged by time or debris. This is a great time to repair small issues so that they do not turn into larger issues. Make a checklist for yourself of things that will need to be purchased to repair any damaged areas. You can repair them as you work or after you have finished cleaning. The goal is to avoid further damage to the existing gutters and help them to work as efficiently as possible.
Don’t Forget about the Corners and Downspouts
Corner pieces and downspouts can be areas where clogs are more prevalent. Take some time to clean out these areas with a scoop and a quality cleaning product. Make sure to wear gloves when working on these areas as some will have sharper edges. In order to thoroughly clean these areas, you need to disconnect these to check for clogs. Once you have completely cleaned those out, you will want to run water through them to be sure the water flows well through them.