Your gutters are essential for a number of reasons. Clean gutters keep water away from your roof, and prolong the life of your roof. Clean gutters also prevent standing water from harming your foundation or causing mildew and rot.
What can you do to keep your gutters healthy? How can you help your gutters do their work in shuttling water and snow off of your roof?
You Can Clean by Hand
Getting in there and cleaning by hand is the most certain way you have of making sure you’re doing it right. Feeling what may clog the spouts with your own gloved hands will give you firsthand evidence.
It is a dirty job, and it is not easy, but you will thank yourself later. You can hire a reputable local roof repair company to do it for you, or you can do it yourself.
You want to wear long pants and a long-sleeved shirt to do the job, even if the temperatures are high. You do not want to risk cutting yourself. Also, you want to wear thick gloves – gardening gloves or work gloves – in case there are sharp pieces of metal from where a gutter may have torn or come unhinged.
We also recommend that you wear a pair of thick, plastic work goggles. Protective gear is essential. You really do not know what may be in your gutter – an animal even – and you need to protect yourself.
You Can Acquire Specialized Tools for the Job
You need a sturdy ladder to get up there, of course. But what else do you need? A gutter scoop will prevent you from using your hands to scoop out muck. If you do not have a proper gutter scoop from your local hardware store, then a kitchen spatula could suffice. Do not use a metal gardening tool like a trowel, as it could rip a hole in the gutter.
You Could Attach Things to Your Hose, Vacuum, or Leaf Blower
You could also use a hose attachment. This long, metal tube has a bend at the top, which lets you blast water up into the gutter to wash the gunk out. You simply screw it onto your garden hose, and then fish around at the drain entrances. It is not as foolproof as getting up there and using your hands, but the hose attachment could make your job easier.
There are also vacuum attachment designed to suck muck out of your gutter. You do need to climb the ladder to get the vacuum attachment up in there. Other stores sell leaf-blower attachments as well, for blowing the debris out. These attachments will not work if the gunk is built up or solidified, but for freshly dropped leaves, these attachments may help.