As the fall season arrives, it’s time to start thinking about clearing out your home’s gutters. While it may seem like a chore, fall gutter cleaning is one of the most important maintenance tasks you can do to protect your home from water damage and other problems. Clogged gutters can lead to a myriad of issues, so getting on a regular cleaning schedule is key.
Take a look at the reason why fall gutter cleaning is so crucial and learn about the step-by-step instructions that will help you effectively clear out your gutters.
Why Fall Gutter Cleaning is So Important
During fall, trees shed their leaves at a rapid rate. All of those leaves can quickly accumulate in your gutters and downspouts, leading to clogs. When gutters become clogged, they can’t effectively divert water away from your home. The excess water has nowhere to go but over the sides of the gutters. This can lead to water damage including wood rot, flooded basements, cracked foundations, landscape damage, and more.
Clogged gutters also become heavy with all of the soaked leaves and debris inside. This extra weight can pull gutters loose from the home, requiring expensive repairs. If the gutters pull shingles and roofing materials with them, you’ll have even more serious home repairs to attend to.
By taking the time to thoroughly clean out your gutters in the fall, you can prevent these problems and save yourself headaches down the road.
When to Clean Your Gutters in the Fall
If you have a lot of vegetation in your area or endure heavy full storms, you may need to aim to clean your gutters at least twice in the fall — once in early autumn as leaves begin to fall, and again in late fall to remove any leftover debris before winter sets in.
The best times are after periods of high leaf fall when dry weather is in the forecast. Avoid cleaning right after a major storm, as saturated leaves will be extra heavy.
Plan to check your gutters again after any windstorms or heavy leaf falls, even if you already cleaned them recently. Debris can accumulate quickly.
Tools and Supplies for Gutter Cleaning
Having the right cleaning tools will make the job safer and easier. Here’s what you’ll need:
- A tall, sturdy ladder that reaches your roof
- Garden trowel or small shovel
- A gutter cleaning tool such as a gutter scoop
- Bucket to collect debris
- Work gloves
- Eye protection
- Stiff brush to scrub the insides of gutters
- Garden hose with a nozzle to rinse away debris
Optional extra supplies can include a leaf blower or shop vacuum if you want an easier experience. Telescopic gutter cleaning tools can allow you to attach gutter cleaning tools to a long handle so you can clean them without having to climb on your roof.
Safety Tips for Gutter Cleaning
- Use caution when climbing a ladder, and have someone steady the base while you work. Don’t try cleaning gutters right after it rains, as ladders can slip.
- Keep your weight centered between the rails of your ladder. Leaning over or reaching too far while on a ladder can be dangerous.
- Consider investing in a helper tool that lets you clear gutters while keeping your feet safely on the ground or in gutter guards that minimize or eliminate the need to clean gutters by keeping debris out.
- Wear protective eyewear in case any debris falls toward your face.
- Be careful handling sharp objects like trowels while balancing on a ladder. Consider using a tool holder attached to your belt.
- Work slowly and avoid rushing. Don’t try cleaning gutters if winds are high.
- Hydrate and take breaks as needed when working outdoors.
Step-by-Step Gutter Cleaning Process
Effectively cleaning your gutters is a process. Following these steps will help ensure that you complete the chore successfully:
- Position your ladder safely and have an assistant stabilize the base. Lean the ladder against the roof, not the gutters themselves.
- Put on protective gloves and eyewear. Bring your tools up the ladder.
- Scoop out piles of leaves and debris from the gutters using your trowel or scoop tool. Place in a bucket to toss out later.
- Reach into the gutters with your gloved hands to pull out any sticking debris.
- Use your scrub brush to clean off any grime along the bottom and sides of the gutters. Apply pressure to break up stuck-on gunk.
- Flush out the gutters with a hard spray from your hose nozzle. This will push out smaller debris.
- Check your downspouts for clogs too. Flush these out from the top and bottom.
- Make sure water can flow freely by pouring a test bucket of water into various spots in the gutters from the roof.
- Patch any leaks or holes you find with gutter sealant. Replace any sections that are cracked, peeling, or sagging.
- Install gutter guards, if desired, to help prevent future clogs after you clean.
Following Up After Cleaning Gutters
Your work isn’t quite done after clearing out your gutters. Here are a few last tips:
- Compost your organic gutter debris or set it out for yard waste collection.
- Make sure the ladder, tools, and other supplies are properly stored away.
- Clean yourself up – you’ve earned a nice shower after all that work!
- Inspect the gutters again after the next heavy rainfall. Make sure the water is flowing properly.
- Consider having a professional gutter cleaning service tackle the job next year if it was overly difficult this year.
Take the chore of fall gutter cleaning seriously, and you’ll protect your home from damage while keeping your gutters working properly. By following these safe cleaning methods, you’ll keep water flowing in the right direction and prevent problems caused by debris buildup. For help with gutter cleaning or maintenance tasks that require professional solutions, the workers at Lednor Home Solutions have the skills, tools, and experience you need, and they’re familiar with your local environment and working on homes like yours. Schedule a free estimate.