Cleaning the gutters is a very important part of homeownership. Your gutters direct rainwater away from the sides of the home, which prevents mold, water damage, and flooding into the basement. As gutters get stuffed with leaves and debris, you also risk attracting wildlife into the attic. Cleaning and maintaining the gutters every year will save you a whole lot of trouble in the long run.
If you’ve never cleaned the gutters before, don’t worry. The process is straightforward. All you will need is a ladder and a few handy tools that will last for many years. If your roof is very high, or if you think you need help, consider hiring a professional for eavestrough cleaning Toronto or near you. Professionals are fast and reliable.
Use the right tools
First, you will need the following tools:
- Step ladder
- Work gloves
- Wire hook
- Gutter scoop
- Garden hose
Place the ladder on the ground, close enough to the wall that you can work comfortably. Hook the bucket onto the ladder with a wire hook for easy access. Then, put on a pair of work gloves and bring a gutter scoop with you. Remove large pieces of debris, like leaves and twigs, with your hands. Then, use the gutter scoop to get rid of the rest. Put everything in the bucket and adjust the ladder’s positioning as you make your way around the house.
If you have downspout guards, take them out to clean them. Then, get your garden hose and pour water down the gutters and into the downspouts. This will clean everything out and let you know if there is a clog in the downspout or problem with the slope of the gutters. If the water coming out of the downspout is less than what you are pouring in, there is a clog. If there is standing water in the gutter, it may not be angled enough to let the water drain.
Remove clogs from the downspouts
In many cases, you can remove clogs by spraying hose water up the downspout, at full pressure. Then, climb up the ladder and flush out the gutters from above. If you’re still having issues, try using a plumbing snake. Send the snake down the gutter and loosen the debris inside. Avoid using an electric plumbing snake because it can tear holes in the metal.
To avoid blockages in the future, invest in gutter guards. Place these at the top of the downspouts so that leaves do not get stuck inside them. Most guards can be put in by hand.
Seal leaks with gutter sealant
Leaks in the gutters are problematic because they risk damaging the sides of the home. All the water should flow off the roof, through the downspouts. If you notice any small cracks in your gutters, close them with gutter sealant. Be sure to use gutter sealant because it is waterproof, and it will adhere to the metal properly. Do this when the gutters are dry, so it works properly.
Fix the slope
Gutters should slope toward to the downspouts, one quarter of an inch for every 10 feet. If, when you are done cleaning, there is standing water in your gutters, the slope needs adjusting. Thankfully, it’s not very complicated.
Grab a level and double check the angle of the slope. If the gutter is straight, detach a few hangers, then readjust the gutter and reattach it at a better angle. When you’re done, check that the gutters and downspouts are well attached to the house. Reattach the gutters if they are loose.
Remove mold and mildew
Finally, if there is dirt, mold, or mildew along the edges of your gutters, clean this off with the hose or a pressure washer. For tougher mildew, try spraying it with a solution of one part bleach and ten parts water. Let the mixture sit on the mold for about an hour, then scrub it with a brush and wash everything away with the hose.