Homeowner's Academy

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Fall Home Maintenance How to Clean Your Gutters

by BROOKE GOLD HASSON | Oct 27, 2014

CleaningGutters-e1413292868513-300x198Thanks to the summer rainy season, gutters are a mandatory piece of any Florida home. When they work properly, they direct runoff away your home, protecting its siding, windows, doors and foundation from damage.

Now that storm season is winding down, we should all take an hour, climb that ladder and clean out those gutters of any piled-up leaves and debris (or add it to our spouse’s honey-do list).

Cleaning Your Gutters in Three Steps:

  1. Remove loose debris

    Scoop out loose debris with a narrow garden trowel, starting at the low end of a gutter’s drain outlet and moving up from there. Try to pick a time when the debris is slightly damp and pliable, not soggy or completely dry. Scoop debris into a plastic bucket to save cleanup time.

  2. Wash out gutters with a hose

    Wash out each gutter section with a water hose that features an on-off high-pressure nozzle. Work from the top end down to the drain outlet and try to avoid splattering mud on your house.

  3. Clear drainpipe obstructions

    Test your drainpipes by running water from top to bottom. If the water doesn’t easily run out the bottom spout, try flushing out the debris with a high-powered hose. If that doesn’t work, use a plumber’s auger (snake) to pull debris toward and out the bottom.

A Few Extra Tips for Cleaning Gutters:

  • Use a sturdy ladder and place it on a firm and level base. If you’re using an extension ladder and have to lean it against a gutter, place a 2 by 4 inside the gutter to keep it from bending out of place.
  • If your roof has a very low pitch, you may find it easier to work on top of the roof, rather than from a ladder. If you’re going to use this strategy, take note of the weather conditions and postpone your gutter cleaning if it’s wet or windy. Wear non-slip shoes and never lean over the roof’s edge.
  • Gutters frequently have sharp metal parts or screw points sticking out into their troughs, so make sure to wear heavy work gloves to protect your hands. In some situations, it may be helpful to carry a bucket for collecting debris.