Thursday, July 16th, 2015 by James Hartkorn
Image via US Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region on Flickr
Care for your gutters doesn’t stop at installation. You need to maintain them throughout the year so your gutters remain clear and able to handle water runoff and thus prevent water damage in your basement, walls or the foundation. Regular maintenance on your gutters is imperative, as it’s the only thing that can prevent clogged debris from backing up and causing flooding. Here are some safety tips to using a ladder for cleaning gutters and getting it done right at least twice a year, usually in spring and fall when the weather is mild.
GATHER YOUR SAFETY GEAR
Well-maintained gutters allow for smooth water runoff from rain storms, and the biggest hindrance to that is a clog. Since you’ll need to get up close and personal with your gutters, you’ll need to climb a ladder. And since you’ll be working with water, that ladder might get slippery. Make sure to don some safety gear, such as rubber-soled shoes, gloves with a good grip, and more. Then use a sturdy ladder and grab a scoop, trowel or cup of some kind and prepare to climb.
It’s not safe for the average homeowner to get up on the roof to check their gutters, as there is always a risk of falling. Instead of trying to clamber around on slippery shingles, invest in a high-quality ladder that is sturdy enough to safely reach your gutter line. Have a partner standing below you to help secure the ladder, just in case. Extendable ladders with standoff stabilizers are your best bet for this task.
SCOOP OUT DEBRIS
Now that you’re properly donned in safety gear, you can begin the gutter maintenance project. Station a friend below the ladder with a bucket, or, better yet, spread out a large tarp beneath the area you’ll be working in to catch the debris and scoop out any leaves, dirt, twigs, rocks and acorns you find. Even if your gutters have guards installed, they should still be regularly cleaned out. Small pieces of debris can still get by, so use a hose to flush out all those pieces. Check that the water is rushing normally out of the downspouts, which should be pointed away from the home’s foundation. If it isn’t, you may have another clog somewhere else.
LOOK FOR SIGNS OF DAMAGE
While you’re up there, be on the lookout for any signs of wear and tear, such as rusting, holes, or punctures. Then, check that the whole gutter system is secure and not loose, testing the fasteners and ties to ensure a tight fit. If your gutter system looks like it has a lot of damage or it’s quite old, you may have to call in a professional to repair or replace the system. You can try and repair it yourself, but without the proper tools and know-how, you could end up doing more damage than good. It’s best to hire a pro now to avoid costly repairs later.
Regular maintenance is crucial when it comes to preserving your home’s gutter and downspout system. Call the experts at LeafGuard by Midlands Home Soluitons and learn everything you could possibly need to know about how to best care for your gutter system.