The ultimate fact about roofing gutter is here.
I dragged to clean the gutter because I want to believe that it is self-reliance and the rain will flush off all the debris like magic. But in reality, if you do not clean your gutters regularly, it will clog to prevent excessive water from running off your roof and all backed up causing major damage to your high dollar roofing system and home. Over flown water may cause yard flooding, rotting the foundation as well as window.
Pay extra care when you are in an area where winter hit hard. Icicles are the culprit as it forms in places that may cause danger to people and object below. Freeze water will weigh down your gutters and force the fascia which is the board in between the gutters and the house to break down and fall apart.
And do you know there is also a downspout that is connected to the gutters? And that piece of material needs to be freed from debris as well. It is like a chain reaction in this scenario. If the downspout is clogged, the gutter will ice up quickly building an ice castle on your roof top faster than you could imagine and finally forming an ice dam resulting in high dollar repair.
To avoid this unnecessary expense that you could have used it to buy a vacation to Cancun, you better make a regimen to start cleaning your gutter. After all, prevention is better than cure plus less frustration.
I know now that gutter maintenance is important but when do I clean them? Well it is not a rocket science. We follow the seasons. Throughout Fall and late Spring when leaves fall from the trees and when seeds and blossoms travels. The easiest way is to make a habit to walk around the house monthly and check the gutter. If you spot some signs of problem, clean it up right away
Safety precaution accessing your gutter is another major topic of discussion. Never use the gutter as a leverage to pull yourself up to take a peek. Gutters are not very strong, they are not built to withstand your weight or aggressive cleaning tools. It is delicate and treat them like a lady, be gentle throughout the cleaning process.
Using a step ladder will be ideal to facilitate the cleaning of the gutters. If your gutter fasteners are more than 2 feet apart, a ladder will put pressure on the material and make a dent. Make sure that your step ladder is stable on the ground and do not step over the second rung from the top. When you look below, also check the above of power lines. It will not be a pleasant scene to get electric shock while cleaning a wet gutter.
Now, what are the cleaning tools should you pick? First find yourself a waterproof glove or layering a latex glove under a normal work glove. Then grab a bucket to collect the debris. Hang it from your ladder or place it on top of your roof.
If you do not have the specialty tool, you can use a plastic gardening trowel (avoid sharp trowel as they will dent and damage your gutter) or cut a plastic milk jug at a 45 degrees angle.
One professional tip to eliminate icicles built up on your gutter is to lay heat tape inside the gutter and plug it in during the winter months. As it heats up, it will melt the ice and help to remove the debris easily.
If there is caked in dirt or debris in the gutter, soak it with some water before scrapping it up and spray the gutter with a garden hose to remove the leftover dirt.
Now remember the downspout? We also need to check the inlet or top of the downspout where is the common place to collect debris. However, clog in the actual downspout is rare. Even if they do, it is easily to dissemble. Sections of the downspout are held together by a few removable screws. It can be sprayed clean and put back together in no time.
Finally, check the slope of your gutter to see if it drains efficiently. Once you have put the downspout back together, turn on the water using a garden hose at the opposite end of the gutter from the downspout. The slope should be at ¼” for every 10 feet. If the slope is inadequate, a gutter technician can help adjust your gutter for you or you can unscrew the fasteners from the fascia board, adjust the gutter to the right slope and screw them back into place.