What tools do you need to prepare before cleaning your gutters, downspouts?
Power washing, Cleaning gutters, downspouts
There are a lot of maintenance chores around the house, and cleaning your gutters is one of the most important ones. It’s also one of the most uncomfortable ones – you’ll inevitably get wet from flushing them, you’ll have to move the ladder a lot, it can be quite dirty, and once you’re done you can’t even show off because it’s not a change that can be seen. Nevertheless, this is not an excuse not to do it.
If your gutters get too full, the water can cause some serious damage to the fascia and the roofing. There will be nothing to keep ice dams and rot at bay. The trouble can also spill below the deck since the water won’t be going down the spouts cleanly but it will pour over the gutters. This means that the water will get to the foundation of your house, even into your crawlspace and basement. The torrents can also cause quite a damage to your garden beds if they’re located under the gutters.
While it may be uncomfortable, cleaning the gutters is actually quite a simple task. You can easily do it yourself, but it’s important to make sure you’ll be efficient and safe during the process. This means having all the right tools and knowing how to use them properly.
When to do it
Before we start going over the tools, it’s equally important to know when to clean your gutters. The recommended amount is twice a year, and the recommended timing is spring and fall. The number of trees is also an important factor – if there are plenty of trees in your neighborhood, you’ll probably have to do it more often. It’s also advisable to clean them after a couple of months of rain and wind, and after the big storm, at least to remove a downspout clog. And it would be wise to check them before the big storm. In the end, a small trick-tip – when gutters are wet they’re really mucky which makes the cleaning a whole lite worse, so waiting for them to dry will make the job far more pleasant. Now that you know when let’s take a look at the tools required.
Safety With Stable and Tall Ladder
As you can see from the subheading, not just any ladder will do when it comes to ensuring your safety. It not only needs to be long enough to reach your gutters, but it should extend higher than them. It’s recommendable to be at least three feet taller so you can stand high enough above the gutters without climbing to the top three rungs. We don’t need to mention that the ladder needs to be sturdy, but it’s equally important to make sure that it’s placed on solid and level ground. As we’ve said, you’ll be required to move the ladder a lot, so be careful to place it securely every time. It’s mandatory to have at least one hand and both feet on the ladder at all times. With all this, climbing and working on a ladder can still be dangerous and tricky, so you should invite a buddy to hold the base for support. If there’s no one you can rely on ladder stabilizers are a smart investment.
Of course, if you have a higher number of floors or a much taller roof, there is a chance that not even the tallest ladder won’t be able to get you high enough. In that case, you need a portable crane, which has its own advantages – it’s easy to use, it’s completely safe and entirely mobile. There are a lot of variations among portable cranes when it comes to personnel lifts, and they all vary in cost. It could be hard to guess the machinery requirements, but companies like Universal Mobile Tower Hire will provide you with free site inspection so you won’t end up with expensive overruns and variations.
Quicker Cleanup With Garbage Bags or Tarp
Even if your gutters prove to be debris-free (which is a rare case) there will still be pine needles and clumps of leaves scattered over your yard once you’re done. Tossing everything to the ground will lead to a very time-consuming cleanup job, so it’s smarter to equip yourself with small garbage bags. You can take them with you up the ladder, fill them up, and then drop them to the ground. If you don’t have ladder stabilizers or a helping hand of a buddy, it’s probably better not to try to balance with a garbage bag full of debris. In that case, simply spread a tarp on the ground where you’ll toss the leaves, which will make it equally easy to bag them in the end.
Shield From Bacteria and Sharp Sticks With Gloves
As we’ve said it’s a messy and dirty job reaching into your gutters. Furthermore, they can be full of decaying organic material if animals of birds have been visiting, which can lead to bacteria and mildew. In the end, there could be a large number of sharp sticks in addition to clips and gutter sections. A good pair of durable work gloves will shield you from all that. It’s best to choose rubber and waterproof ones, although a good quality surgical/latex gloves will also do the job. With an adequate pair of gloves, you’ll be able to perform a full movement without a chance of injury and scoop out the gunk in fistfuls.
Overcoming Sludge With Hand Trowel
People who don’t want to touch all that mess too much simply go to a local hardware store and purchase a special scoop for gutter cleaning. But, to be honest, a simple hand trowel that’s probably lying around in your garden will do the job just the same. If you don’t have a problem with scooping by hand (in gloves, of course), you might still need that trowel in case there’s sludge in the bottom of your gutters. This will prevent you from fully extracting the debris by hand, and this handy tool will dislodge it without a problem.
Power Washing With Spray Nozzle
Some people find it easier to simply power wash the debris right out. All you need to do is to hook up a garden hose to an outdoor spigot and attach a high-powered spray nozzle. Nevertheless, it’s recommended to remove all the sticks and leaves before that and use it just to finish the job. The goal is to check if there are any blockages or leaks which you need to take care of. A high-powered spray nozzle could remove the paint from the siding or even dent the metal, so make sure you only use it inside the gutter.
Dealing With Downspouts With Plumber’s Snake
Many forget that downspouts are an inseparable part of cleaning the gutters, and the most stubborn clogs are usually located where these two meet. If these water drainage components are clogged you need to open them up, breaking through the debris and pulling it out. This is what a plumber’s snake is for – it’s a flexible solution which is especially useful when you need to work around an elbow or a curve in a downspout. After you break through you can simply return to the hose and blast the water through, dislodging the rest.
There you have it – it’s all it takes to ensure full safety and protection, quick cleanup, overcoming obstacles and doing the job all the way. Cleaning the gutters may still not be fun, but with these tools, it’s certainly easy and efficient.