Gutters aren’t just there to keep leaves out of your living room; they’re also designed to catch and divert precipitation away from your house. If you’ve ever looked down into one of those things and noticed dark streaks running along the bottom, you know what I’m talking about. And while many people think that this is just something that happens naturally over time, the truth is that clogged gutters can cause serious structural problems inside your home.
You might think cleaning your Columbus gutters is a job best left to professionals, but if you want to save some money, don’t let that stop you from tackling the chore yourself. You’ll find that the process is pretty simple, and once you learn how to do it properly, you won’t even notice that you’ve been doing it all along.
Why It’s Important to Clean Your Home’s Gutters
The importance of cleaning your home’s gutters cannot be stressed enough. If you don’t take care of your gutters, you’re putting yourself at risk for serious damage to your property. Here are some reasons why you need to clean your gutters now.
1. They Protect You From Winter’s Melt and Freeze Cycles
Gutters collect water from the roof and divert it away from the house. This prevents water from pooling around the foundation. However, during the cold months, snow can melt and freeze inside the gutter system, causing it to become extremely heavy. When this happens, the weight of the snow causes the gutter to break off the roof and fall onto the ground below. In addition, rigid gutter material can plug up the downspout, preventing water from flowing properly.
2. Guttering Keeps Water Out of Windows and Basements
When water pools around the foundation, it can leak through windows and even into basements. Even worse, when the water freezes, it expands, damaging walls and foundations. Keeping your gutters clear of debris is a good way to prevent this. As long as they remain unobstructed, water will flow away from the building.
3. Gutters Prevent Roof Damage
If you notice cracks in your shingles, it might mean that your roof needs repair. The reason is simple: water can pool against the shingles without gutters, causing them to crack and peel away. Over time, this can weaken the roof structure and pressure the supporting beams.
Gutter Cleaning Safety
The good news is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to cleaning gutters. Some people prefer to clean them themselves, but others find doing so too dangerous. Others choose to call professionals to handle the task. Either way, some basic safety precautions must be taken into consideration.
If you have to climb a ladder to clean your gutters, don’t try to do it alone. A stepladder is unstable enough to prevent it from toppling underfoot if you lose your footing. Instead, use a sturdy ladder that extends above the roofline and has a helper standing at the base to help keep the ladder steady. This ladder type is usually found outside hardware stores and home improvement centers.
Hiring a professional to clean your gutters is recommended for all homes over a single-story height. They have the necessary equipment to access high gutter lines safely. While some homeowners might think they could tackle the job themselves, they often lack the experience to reach those areas properly. Hiring a pro ensures that everything goes smoothly.
How to Clean Gutters From the Ground
Cleaning gutters from the ground requires some patience and practice. If you’ve never done this work, go slow and steady. If you don’t want to risk damaging your roof or eaves, use a good pair of rubber boots and wear eye protection.
The most common way to clean gutters from ground level involves attaching a garden hose nozzle to the end of a long pole, such as a broom handle, and inserting the pole into the downspout opening. Once inserted, turn on the water and begin pushing the pole along the length of the pipe. This causes debris to flow out of the pipe and onto the ground.
If you’d rather avoid getting dirty, look for a shop-style wet/dry vacuum attachment. These come in different sizes and shapes and usually include a telescoping wand that attaches to the machine’s body via suction cups. Use the attachment to suck up leaves, twigs, and other debris. Be careful not to pull too hard, though — the suction might cause damage to the gutter system.
Gutter Cleaning With a Garden Hose
As long as they are not completely clogged, it’s relatively easy to clean your gutter from the ground using a telescoping garden hose attached to a nozzle designed to fit into the gutter. This method works well for cleaning out debris, but you’ll want to do it during periods of low rainfall. If you wait too long, rainwater could cause problems like corrosion.
Start at the end closest to the downspout, spraying the entire channel length. Then, working your way back toward the downspout, repeat the process. You might have to use a second hose to reach some areas.
Water, leaves, and small branches are likely to spray over onto the side of the gutter, making it necessary to wear protective clothing.
Clearing Gutters With a Wet/Dry Vacuum
Another way to remove debris from gutters is to use an attachment on a wet/dry vacuum. These attachments are designed to clean out clogs and blockages in gutters and downspouts. They’re great tools to help homeowners clear away leaves and other debris that could cause problems during the winter months. You’ll find these attachments at home improvement stores and online retailers like Amazon.com.
Once you’ve removed most of the debris from the gutters and downpours, flush the gutters with water from a garden hose. This helps keep debris out of the system and prevents it from freezing and causing damage to your roof. Contact a professional to handle the job if you don’t want to do this.