The gutters around the roof of your house play an essential role in effectively moving water away from your home before it can be damaged.
In order to make sure that issues to do with dampness and water/moisture penetration are avoided altogether, you should make sure your house’s gutters are clean and clear of debris at all times.
Our quick and easy house gutter cleaning guide will provide you with all the information you might need in order to do all your gutter maintenance on your own – and save a few quid in the process.
How often should your gutters be cleaned?
How often you need to clean your gutters depends on a number of factors including:
- The volume of rainfall/snowfall you expect to see during a year
- How many trees are around your gutters and the number of leaves or other debris which can potentially fall into your house’s gutter and cause blockages
- How old the gutters are
As a rule of thumb, tidying your gutters up twice a year should be enough. That being said, if you expect them to have to deal with large volumes of precipitation or many debris over the course of a year, cleaning them on a quarterly basis (four times a year) might be the best course of action. In the case that you do forget to clean your gutters and the debris leads to leaks which lead to mould growths on your walls, check out our guide on how to get rid of mould on walls naturally, easily and efficiently.
Note that if you have a house party which gets particularly wild, you might want to check your gutter to see that any bottles or other garbage has been left there. If you don’t spot them, the next heavy rain could see your gutters get damaged or even collapse. Check out our other post for more information on how to clean up after having a party.
When should one attempt gutter cleaning?
The best times to schedule your most thorough gutter cleaning is towards the end of spring and towards the end of autumn. The reasoning behind this is simple: during spring, trees as well as flowers tend to expel many pollens and seeds which can build up quite quickly in your gutter and cause clogs. It’s unlikely that you will see massive build-ups in the first month of spring; thus, cleaning your gutter at the end of the renewal season is the best option. Clearing out your gutter after autumn is over follows much of the same logic: when the trees around your gutter are done shedding their autumn leaves, you’ll be in the best position to clean your gutter. If you attempt to do this earlier, you’ll just end up having to do it again in a few weeks.
How to clean gutters from the roof or from a ladder
Because you will be working at heights, it is important to ensure that your ladder is safely attached either to your house or to the ground so that it doesn’t move. Having a spotter present who can make sure from the ground that your ladder doesn’t wobble too much is ideal.
In order to clear large debris such as leaves you can either use a small gardening shovel or put on gardening gloves and simply use your hands. Before starting to clear anything though, you should bring either a bucket or a thick plastic bag to the top of the roof and leave it there so that you can put the dirt and debris inside it as you move along the edge of the roof.
After you’ve taken care of all the larger fragments in the gutter, it’s time to wash it out and leave it completely clean. To do this you can opt for either for the following methods:
- Use a hose to wash it down. Simply start at the upper slope of your gutter and wash it down with a hose with good water pressure and flow. You will probably need to move around the gutter in order to get all of the debris as water simply running down it won’t be enough in many cases. If the dirt has become particularly sticky you might also need to put your gardening gloves on again and scrape it off while the water flows.
- Use a bucket to wash it down. This method is obviously much slower and will require you to fill the bucket multiple times in order to clean the whole of the gutter. However, for those who don’t have access to a hose, it is sadly the only option.
How to clean gutters from the ground
If you don’t have a ladder nearby or you do have one but are afraid you won’t be able to secure it so that it won’t wobble and potentially lead to injuries, you can try cleaning your gutters from the ground. In order to do this, you will need a specialised tool such as a:
- Tool designed specifically for cleaning gutters from the ground (some of these tools are purchasable in the UK and simply feature a hose attached to a long pole)
- Gutter vacuum (gutter vacuum attachments are usually designed so that they can fit easily on leaf-blowers and other such gadgets)
- Gutter flusher (which uses water in order to flush out any debris stuck in your gutter)
While you will certainly be able to clean gutters without a ladder, it isn’t the best option available because it creates quite the mess. Making use of a ladder will make the job much easier and much less messy.
All in all, cleaning your gutter is quite a dirty job and one that will definitely not be pleasurable for most. However, making sure you take on this chore at least two times a year at the times mentioned above will ensure that when you do need to do it, you’ll have an easier time.