Fall is the time for homeowners to prepare their homes for the fast-approaching cold winter months. This should include gutter maintenance as a priority. Failure to clean your gutters during fall can result in clogged, non-functional gutters, flooding, and structural water damage problems. Here’s how to clean your gutters during fall:
Take safety measures before you clean your gutters during fall. Since you can’t tackle these tasks without climbing up a ladder, you should take the following precautions:
• Make sure you can use a ladder comfortably.
• Never climb up a ladder when it’s raining or windy.
• Don’t use a ladder when you are alone. Have someone available to assist you.
Clean Your Gutters Thoroughly
It might not be a fun chore, but proper gutter maintenance is an important part of winter preparations. Your gutters need to be cleaned thoroughly, which means getting every last pod, seed, leaf, and twig from your gutter troughs and downspouts, and washing out the dirt. Clean gutters will protect your home from wintery precipitation by directing it away from your home’s siding and foundation.
How to Clean Your Gutters During Fall
Here are some pointers to get you started:
• Hook an empty bucket and the tools you’ll need to the top part of a ladder and then position it near a downspout.
• Once you’ve picked the section of gutter to clean, spread a tarp on the ground beneath you to collect the debris.
• Use your hands and a trowel to remove large debris like twigs and leaves, dumping them into the empty bucket. Remember to wear gloves. Start close to the downspout and work towards the opposite end. Empty your bucket on the tarp below when it gets full. This debris can be repurposed as compost for your garden.
• Use a garden hose that has a nozzle sprayer to remove the remaining dirt. From the opposite end of the downspout, use the nozzle sprayer to flush out the gutter. If the dirty water does not drain out of the downspout easily, check the fixture’s strainer for clogs and hose it down.
• To clear a clogged downspout, you’ll need to work from the bottom. If the downspout leads underground, you can always remove it from the pipe to make it accessible.
• With the nozzle sprayer set to full pressure, insert your garden hose upwards into the spout and turn on the water. The high pressured water jet should dislodge the blockage. But if it doesn’t, try to dislodge the obstruction using a plumber’s snake inserted from the bottom. Reattach and secure any detached or loose pieces.
• Use the same nozzle sprayer setting to flush out your gutters one more time, working from the furthest end towards the downspout.
Although the above-listed steps are applicable all year round, there are some variations on how to clean your gutters during fall. For starters, you can use handled plastic bags to hold the debris instead of a bucket. Since you can let these bags fall to the tarp and gather them later, they eliminate the need to climb up and down the ladder as often.
You could also invest in a telescoping hose attachment instead of using a hose. This attachment is designed for gutter cleaning specifically. With a telescoping hose attachment, you can clean your gutters without climbing up a ladder.
Inspect Your Gutters Regularly
You should inspect your gutters on a regular basis to make sure they are protecting your home from water. Inspections can be scheduled for late summer, early fall, or whenever the weather permits. Check whether your gutters are sagging, loose, pulling away from the house, or full of debris. Find out whether the seams are starting to split.
The frequency of some of your gutter maintenance tasks will depend on the number of trees around your house. Trim back any branches that might be touching your roof. Leaves, seeds, and twigs can fall off branches that are hanging directly over your troughs and will clog your gutters up more quickly.
It is recommended that every home has its gutters cleaned at least twice a year. It’s a good idea to clean your gutters during fall and spring. If you cannot complete any of these tasks on your own, hire a professional to do it for you. Paying someone to do it now will save you more money than ignoring your gutters and facing the consequences in the future.