Clogged gutters can cause all sorts of problems. In a downpour, gutters filled with debris are unable to accommodate the runoff, sending a cascade of water down the side of your house. In addition to wearing out your siding and ravaging your flower beds, all this water can saturate your foundation, leading to repairs that can cost you in the thousands. Getting rid of gutter clutter is the surest way to prevent these problems.
The gutters on the average home should be cleaned at least once a year. If you have overhanging trees that contribute to gutter buildup, twice a year is better. It’s also a good idea to take a look at your gutters after major rain storms and clean them then if necessary.
Gutter Cleaning Tips
- Wear rubber gloves, and choose clothing you can afford to get dirty. A water-resistant jacket with long sleeves is ideal.
- Use a sturdy extendable ladder, preferably one with standoff stabilizers—also called “ladder horns”—for extra stability.
- Remove gutter buildup with a plastic scoop. Tools made specifically for this job are available at most hardware stores, but a child’s sand shovel is cheaper and usually works just as well.
- Spread a plastic tarp below your gutters to spare your lawn and plants.
- Check areas where a downspout connects to your gutter system closely. These are often the places where clogs occur.
- After you’ve cleared the muck and buildup out of your gutters, flush them out with a garden hose.
- Consider investing in gutter covers to reduce future clogs. Mesh screens, porous foam and clip-on grates can all slow the clogging process, although the covers themselves may need regular maintenance to keep them clear.
Professional Gutter Cleaning
If you’d rather keep your hands clean and avoid climbing up and down ladders, you can hire a professional company to clean your gutters for you. Doing it yourself is cheaper—professional gutter cleaning typically runs $50 to $250 depending on the size of your house—but it might be worth the cost to stay on solid ground.