HUDSON, Ohio – It’s not a secret, gutter cleaning
is nasty work. Whether it’s spring cleanup for summer or fall prep before winter, clearing gutters of wet leaves and debris is not fun. But somebody has to do it, and there are specific tools that make things much easier.
With the summer sun out, gutters are easily ignored, but making sure rain water from a sudden thunderstorm is diverted away from a home is important. For the gutter system to work properly, debris must be cleared on a regular basis or fitted with a professionally-installed gutter protection system. Anything to avoid clogged gutters, as even the smallest backup can lead to a leaky roof or landscape erosion and even foundation damage.
Keep it simple
It might seem insignificant, but a calendar and note pad are two of the most important items when planning to clean gutters. Keeping a log of when cleaning was done and exactly what was removed will help with future organization. The homeowner will also figure out what type of gutter protection might work best to battle the elements.
“We live near trees, lots and lots of trees,” said Ralph Forbush of Pacemoke, Md. “I’m always cleaning the gutter clogs.”
Avoid clogged gutters
The main priority when gutter cleaning is to eliminate the possibility of clogged gutters, so a plan to clean at least twice a year is important. Most homeowners typically aim for once during the fall months when foliage is falling and once during the spring months as flowers bloom. But depending on the geographic region, gutters might need to be cleaned more often to keep up with seasonal and regional variance.
“I had to clean inches of mud and debris out of the gutters on a regular basis,” said Randy Romblad of Ocean Pines, Md.
The most basic items needed to clean gutters are three tools that go the farthest to keep a person safe and sanitary. Even with a tight budget, a homeowner can easily buy gloves, protective eye wear and a ladder at the local hardware store.
To safely reach and clear leaves, grit and debris from the gutter a ladder is essential. The only real precaution before climbing is safe use, as the potential for danger is a real possibility with any type of ladder.
“I was scared to death seeing [my husband] up on the ladder cleaning out the gutters,” said Mary Martinez of West Ocean City, Md.
Save your hands and eyes
Once the ladder is set up in a safe place, a strong pair of gloves and shielding eyeglasses will keep the cleaner free of unwanted contact with rotting leaves. Sometimes a gutter system that hasn’t been cleaned on a regular basis will be filled with anything and everything from pests, snakes, bee hives or bird droppings. That’s why a pair of gloves to protect against dirty muck and bacteria is important. Gloves can also save the hands from cuts on the gutter system or roofing that could lead to infection or Tetanus. Protective eye wear is vital to keep sludge, pests and insects out of the eyes.
There are multiple methods to actually clearing the gutters free of debris, but using the hand to scoop leaves into a strong garbage bag is the most common. A large, durable garbage bag is essential to collect and dispose of the wet leaves and slop found within the gutter system.
Move things along
There are a couple more items at the home improvement store to make gutter cleaning easier and more efficient. Those who struggle with clearing muck by hand will benefit from gutter scoops. These tools are small plastic shovels or spades that do exactly what the name implies, scoop gutters free of leaves and debris. Gutter scoops also keep the hands clean and cut free.
Once the gutters are cleared of debris, a basic hose or high pressure washer system will completely clean the gutter walls. If the water pressure of the typical hose is not enough, a spray nozzle easily attaches and has no problem cleaning the left-over mush. When using either a hose or high pressure washer, it’s best to spray toward the downspout to make sure the system is flowing properly.
Use new technology to your advantage
Cleaning the highest gutters becomes a serious issue for some homeowners, as some of the tallest ladders won’t even reach places that need to be cleaned.
“We couldn’t clean the second story gutters,” said Ilona Lewandowski of Greendale, Wis. “They were much too high.”
A spray wand can be attached to high pressure washing systems and hoses for extension to those hard-to-reach gutters. There are also extendable gutter vacuums and tongs on the market that make clearing almost any gutter space easy.
At some point, most homeowners become frustrated with constantly cleaning out the muck and mold, so a gutter guard system makes the most sense. There are many different gutter guards on the market, ranging from do-it-yourself setups available at most home improvement stores to professionally-installed systems.
“We have lots of trees, so I looked at gutter guards for years,” said Bernard Brilhart from Berlin, Md. “Those systems with the helmet don’t make sense. You can tell by looking at them that the debris will get into the gutter.”
Never clean again
A completely-sealed gutter guard system like LeafFilter™ will divert water away from your home by making sure that nothing but water is filtered into the gutters.
“My neighbors have gutters that are full of leaves,” said Brad Pearson of Burlington, Wis. “Not me, because I have LeafFilter™ gutter guards.”
When our system is professionally installed, leaves, dirt and debris are kept out of your gutters, allowing the water to be properly filtered and channeled away from any home.
“We’ve had a lot of rain this spring, so we know LeafFilter ™ works,” said Holly Fullmer of Ashland, Ohio. “The system is doing everything it’s supposed to do.”
Our gutter guards will prevent the headache of having to constantly clean disgusting slop from gutters.