Daily life is as stressful and busy as it has ever been. That means your brain is likely occupied nearly 24/7, always thinking about what is coming next. But you know what is probably never on your mind? Your gutters. You may not even think about your gutters at all for months or even years at a time. But this can be a major problem for you and your home when a storm rolls through or if your gutters get dirty and clogged. Here are eight things that you should know about cleaning your gutters, so you can rest easy and focus on other important things!
If you don’t think about your gutters ever, then you may not even understand why your home has gutters in the first place. This can be a major problem for you, since knowing why your home has gutters can get you to understand the importance of your gutters. In the event of a storm depositing water on your roof, your gutters are there to catch the runoff from your roof and direct towards a location with better drainage, and or an area that encourages the water to flow away from your home. Without gutters, rainwater flowing off your roof can pool in areas around your house that will hold the water, allowing it to flow towards your home, perhaps getting into the foundation, and causing water damage. Your gutters serve a very important function protecting your home from water damage.
Another important thing to understand before you go about cleaning your gutters is what sorts of things get stuck up there. Knowing what you are likely to find can help you know what materials and tools you are going to need to get your gutters squeaky clean for next time. Leaves are a common culprit of gutter clogging, so make sure that you have something that can dislodge and remove those leaves. There is also potential for mud and dirt to get caught up in your gutters that should be removed to prevent more buildup. Lastly, you should be prepared to find dead birds or squirrels in your gutters, as sometimes they fall out of trees and land in your gutter. Don’t be shocked if you find unexpected things!
It doesn’t do you much good to go ahead and clean your gutters if you don’t know how to clean them. You’re going to need to start by dressing for the job, you should wear long sleeves to avoid getting gunk and goop on your arms. Then you should get an extendable ladder that will get you up to gutter height safely, and make sure to always follow the safety instructions for your ladder. You will then want to use a scoop of some sort, whether it is a specific gutter cleaning scoop you can find at a hardware store or a shovel or even a child’s play shovel. Scoop the gunk out and collect it in a bucket or tarp on the ground to remove at the end. Once they are all clear, flood your gutters with hose water to finish flushing any other debris out.
If you read that paragraph and think that cleaning gutters sounds like no fun and what’s the worst that can happen if you don’t do it, then this paragraph is for you. There are a lot of potential consequences to not cleaning your gutters regularly that can be far costlier than dealing with cleaning them. For starters, you can cause severe water damage to your house, by letting water leak into your foundation. You can also cause damage to your paving, like cracking and chipping. Cracks let water into your paving, weakening it and causing further damage. You should make sure to fix your paving as soon as you notice damage.
It can also be useful to know what material your gutters are made from when you go to clean them. There are several different materials gutters can be made from. Vinyl is one of the most common and popular choices as a lightweight and affordable choice. Aluminum is another popular choice for its stronger build and resistance to rust. Copper is an older choice but is used in higher end builds since it is very durable. Knowing what your gutters are made of can help you keep them clean in the long run
You should be cleaning your gutters more often than you probably are. You should clean your gutters once every six months or so to ensure that no blockages and buildups are occurring and causing you flooding. You should also clean your gutters after any major storm to ensure that everything is cleared up before the next storm. Don’t neglect gutter cleaning and wait till there’s a problem.
There are a few things that you should avoid when trying to clean your gutters for your own personal safety. Firstly, you should wear protective gear like eye protection and gloves to prevent debris from getting in your eyes. You should also use a spotter so that you are not on your own and be sure to follow the safety instructions for your ladder to avoid spills, falls, and other injuries.
Lastly, there comes a time when you will need to replace your gutters rather than clean them. If your gutters are cracking or splitting, then you should consider replacing parts or all of your gutter system. The same is true if the seams of your gutters are starting to come apart. If your gutters are growing mold or mildew, it is also time to get some new gutters. Every handful of years to every decade, you should seriously consider replacing your gutters to make sure you are protecting your home to the best of your ability.
Gutters are a piece of your home that you likely forget. And that can be a good thing, so long as they are clean and functional. Remember these eight most important things to know about cleaning your gutters so that you don’t have to worry about them.
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