Whether you choose to delegate this tiresome task to pros or take the DIY road, you shouldn't ignore your gutters.
To be honest, cleaning the gutters is a job most home-owners would love to ignore. But it's dangerous. Neglected gutters tend to overflow or cause oh-so-beautiful yet oh-so-dangerous ice dams. Both resulting in water invading the privacy of your home. Even if flooding isn't really an issue in your area, there is still the integrity of your roofing to think about. Leaves- and debris-laden gutters will eventually rot, becoming a threat to your family's safety.
Even if your gutters don't seem clogged, you should still clean them up twice a year. The smallest amount of dirt and rotten leaves on the bottom of the gutters is an open invitation to insects, pests and even rodents to invade your home. In case you have tall trees in close proximity to your humble abode, you might need to repeat the debris-removing procedure even more often.
Nowadays you can find hundreds of useful or not-that-useful inventions which can aid you in your war against debris. From thongs on extension poles through vacuum cleaners with gutter nozzles to the high-tech remote-controlled robots. No matter, if you are set to do things the old-fashioned way or you rely on modern technology, at the end you will still have to climb a ladder and do some manual labour. In case you have high-rise gutters (above the first floor) or you feel insecure mounting ladder, you are probably better off hiring a local gutter cleaning company to do the job. If not, here are some tips on how to sanitise your gutters on your own:
If climbing a ladder is a challenge, than mounting it with all the protective gear you need would seem like an impossible mission. Nevertheless, before you begin the job, you ought to put on heavy water-proof work gloves, dust mask, helmet and safety goggles. These are the must-haves. But you might also want to take advantage of:
- ladder stabiliser - to be sure your ladder is secured;
- garbage bag - to drop the debris into;
- garden trowel - to 'dig up' the junk;
- high-pressure nozzle for your hose;
- basic cleaning supplies - sponge, bucket, cleaning detergent.
Mount the ladder and make sure it's secured. Stand off stabilisers aka ladder "horns" will help protect your gutters from being squished by the ladder. Wearing the gloves, remove gunk. Use a big bucket to gather it and then either throw away or add to your compost pile. Afterwards, scrub the gutters clean with the sponge and cleaning detergent. Wash down the remaining debris with the hose.
There are many debates if an investment in gutter screens or caps is worth it. After all, no matter what you do, you can't possibly keep all the leaves and gunk out. On the other hand, you can still minimise the amount that piles up. Keep in mind that gutter protection additions can be quite costly, reaching up to $9 per running foot.