Cleaning A Gutter And Downspout

If you have trees on your property, make a point of checking your gutters and downspout annually for proper drainage and possible debris.

If you own a home, you will need to clean the gutters every year. If you don't, a buildup of debris can cause a lot of damage to the foundation of the house by forcing rainwater to trickle down the exterior walls and into the ground around the base of the house. You don't want the basement to start leaking or the walls to start getting bowed, which can lead to an eventual collapse that can cost thousands to repair or replace.

To clean your gutters, you will need to dress for the type of work you will be doing. Wear clothes that you don't mind getting dirty, and shoes with good traction. Don't forget the work gloves. Use a stable ladder with sturdy rungs. Lean it against the house in secure fashion and test it to be sure it can support your weight. If you can, get someone to help by holding the ladder, which will make it much safer, and you can take turns working on the gutters. But if not, make sure the ladder won't slide. You are going to need a bucket, a trowel, and the garden hose.

Wait until it is not wet outside. Start with the gutters. Once you get up on the ladder, hook the hose to a rung of the ladder by the nozzle. Set your bucket on the ladder's flat support panel. If you have a leaf guard in the gutter, take it out and set it on the roof. Sometimes they just flip up. Now take your trowel and scoop out the leaves and debris into the bucket. Once you have done this, use the garden hose to spray any debris that you have missed towards the downspout. When you are down with that section, climb down the ladder and empty your bucket into the trash. Now move the ladder down and make sure you have it secure so you won't fall. Keep doing this all the way down to the end of the roof. Make sure that your gutter isn't hanging down anywhere; if it is, see if you can repair it yourself or plan to call a roofing expert. Check all the straps and make sure that you put the leaf guard back where it was.

You may need a friend to help you clean the downspout. Take the hose with you to the top of the ladder and then have your friend feed up more hose while you feed it down the downspout. Then have him or her turn on the water from below. While you slowly pull up the hose, your helper will need to rake away the leaves and debris as they come out the bottom of the downspout. Continue until you are sure that there is no more debris left in the downspout. At this point you can climb down the ladder and rake up the area where you were working. Put away the ladder and tools and you're done. You might need to do this a couple times a year if you have many trees on your property that overhang the roof or it you have a particularly rainy season.

Make this chore a seasonal project that can help prevent serious damage to your home's foundation and basement.

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