Cleaning your gutters is usually something that people don’t really think about until it’s too late and you have water not draining properly.
We’ve put together a list of helpful tips for what you should be considering when thinking about cleaning your gutters… and how to do it as well!
Why do I need to clean my gutters?
Cleaning your gutters typically gets put off by most homeowners because it’s either something they don’t really think about or they don’t know the best way to get started.
The quickest and easiest way of cleaning your gutter will always be to hire a professional, you can schedule in a time that’s best for you and have a business that has been doing this day-in-day-out for years.
Due to the potential safety hazards and equipment that you need to get the best results, we would always advise contacting a professional first before undertaking any task at this kind of height.
If you’re looking to be able to do this for yourself, however, we have a few tips that you can use to have your gutter looking as good as new.
Let’s start with why you would need to clean your gutter.
As you can see in the picture above, the gutter on your roof is a perfect place for debris of all shapes and sizes to start gathering and eventually block up the passage to your downpipe.
The downpipe is the pipe that drains all of the built-up rainwater from your gutter straight down to the drain by your driveway or around your house.
Having this passage blocked up by debris can lead to an overflow in rainwater (especially here in the UK!) and lead to leaking and seepage into any cracks that you may have leading into your house from the roof.
At first glance, your gutter may look clear from twigs and sticks, or even birds’ nests, but you need to get a proper look from a vantage point to see whether you have any internal blockages or cracks, etc.
When should I clean my gutters out
We would usually advise cleaning your gutter out twice per year in areas that aren’t crowded by trees and other such wildlife.
However, if you have a house (like mine) where you have a persistent Magpie or if we’re entering the spring/autumn seasons then this should be done more regularly and reviewed at the end of each month.
How do I do it?
In theory, cleaning out the gutter is a fairly simple task, the main reason why people put cleaning their gutters off is the need for equipment and working at height.
We would advise booking a gutter cleaning appointment so that you don’t have to worry about your own safety especially if you’re concerned about working in an elevated situation.
Carrying out your gutter cleaning on a dry day is always preferred compared to when it has recently rained, removing dry debris as opposed to soggy and compact debris is always going to be an easier task and means you won’t have to get your hands as dirty as well.
There are quite a few tools that you can use to clean out a gutter, but we like to keep things simple and use the tools that work best for the job at hand.
Using a telescopic gutter cleaner really helps to clean out the loose debris from your gutter and can be run across the piping to get rid of any stray twigs and general debris.
For a more thorough clean, we always make sure to take a closer look at the gutter piping and down-pipes to ensure there aren’t any cracks or extreme blockages.
Using a high-powered pressure washer to remove any build-ups in a down-pipe after loosening the problem with a rod to make sure that everything is ready to be flushed out the other end has always worked for us!
What’s the best ladder to use to reach the gutter in the first place?
You have to make sure that whatever ladder you’re using, that you make sure it’s sturdy when you apply your full body weight onto it, and that it’s tall enough to complete the job.
Make sure you’re not over-extending or reaching to clear out your gutter! This is always going to be a risky move and often leads to putting your own safety at risk.
When using a ladder at heights such as this, make sure that you’re on a level and dry surface to avoid any slipping.
Do I need any PPE (Personal Protective Equipment)?
Being extra careful can never be a bad thing especially when working at this kind of height.
Typically, if you have a sturdy ladder and have followed all of the tips that we’ve laid out in this article, you won’t need anything else other than patience, a bit of caution, and some protective gloves.
This is something that we’ve learned from personal experience, you’d be surprised with how sharp some of the twigs and sticks are that you find in your gutter!
Also, if there are any screws/material from the roof that has fallen into the gutter over the years, then you will want to have a pair of heavy-duty gloves to reduce the risk of getting any snags or cuts.
What else should I look out for?
A great little trick that we use on a daily basis is to think about the debris that you’re throwing out on the floor/path below you.
We often carry a small bag (if using a bin bag, make sure to double up to make sure that nothing gets through any holes) that we take up the ladder and place any debris into said bag.
Doing this allows us to not make a mess around the customers’ house and so that if we do find any sharp objects etc. we can safely dispose of them instead of putting others at risk.
Make sure you get rid of any debris first!
Power tools and pressurised cleaners are always going to be first on anyone’s list when looking to clean out their gutter.
And whilst this can be an effective method, especially for the more stubborn blockages, you should always look to clear out any debris first before going to town with a pressure washer or another tool.
Using your hands (whilst wearing protective gloves) or a plastic scoop will get the job done and will save you from having to take any heavy and unnecessary equipment up the ladder that might be a bit overkill.
Get rid of debris from the roof as well!
Don’t neglect cleaning the roof!
Making sure to clean as much of your roof as possible before calling it a day is a great way to stop yourself from having to keep cleaning your gutters month after month.
Typically, your roof will have a lot of excess debris lodged/settled on it and this will tumble into your gutter over time, especially if you see a lot of rain and wind (I.E. everyone in the UK!).
Don’t neglect the downpipe
The down-pipe is the piping that drains all of the rainwater from the roof-line guttering down to the drain on the floor below.
This often falls victim to a lot of blockages and debris build-up that can cause issues later down the line with overflowing and poor drainage.
To properly clean out the down-pipe, you first have to unscrew it from the roof-line guttering before you can start unblocking whatever might be hidden down there!
You will see a set of clips that are attaching the downpipe to the guttering, you will need a screwdriver to unscrew the down-pipe entirely so that you can take the whole thing down to the ground and get a better, and safer vantage point when cleaning it out.
Once the down-pipe is safely on the ground, the best and simplest method of unblocking is to use a stiff rod/pole to loosen up anything that’s been building up over the years.
Finding the time, buying the equipment, and working at height are all reasons that people don’t like or simply don’t want to clean their gutters.
Hiring a professional is always going to be a quicker and easier solution due to the efficiency, speed, and knowledge that they bring to the job and it also saves you from getting your hands dirty as well!
If you need your gutters cleaning or anything from patios and driveways to commercial buildings and schools, then we’d love to hear from you so we can book an appointment and get the job done for you!
What is a gutter guard and will it help?
Gutter Guards are a really effective bit of kit that can drastically reduce the amount of debris build up in the roof-line guttering and in your down-pipes as well.
Simply place them into your gutter, and this will act as a man-mad blocker that will prevent twigs and leaves, etc. from building up over time!