4 Tips for Handling a Clogged Gutter
Cleaning out the rain gutters is a hated chore that we all try to put off for as long as possible, but we know it is going to bite us in the butt at some point. Rain gutters play an important role in the function of the house, routing runoff from your roof so it drains away from the house so there is no water damage during or after rainstorms. When they get clogged, the resulting damage can cause you a hefty penny to fix.
Don’t ignored your clogged gutter anymore. Follow these 4 tips for handling a clogged gutter:
Know Your Options
The most important thing to realize is that there are several ways to unclog your gutters and downspouts and they all don’t require you climbing a ladder and scaling the roof. Your safety is always number one so make sure whatever cleaning method you choose does not put you at risk in any way.
Here are some different cleaning options to choose from:
- A leaf blower or a hose– but make sure you wear goggles and a dust mask and heavy work gloves.
- Purchase a gutter cleaning kit that can connect to your leaf blower.
- Use a garden trowel or gutter scoop to clean it out by hand. For best results, start at the drain outlet near the low end of the gutter. Then just dump into a bucket to dispose of when you are all done. It is best to do it when the leaves are only slightly damp not real soggy.
Besides focusing on what is just in the gutters, also make sure to use the leaf blower to blow any leaves or debris off the roof itself so it doesn’t all end up in the gutters the next time it rains.
If you have any concerns about safely climbing up and down the ladder, then your safest bet is to hire a professional cleaning company. If you are going to do it yourself, make sure you have a sturdy ladder and never ever stand on the top two rungs.
Practice Ladder Safety
Most injuries that happen during home projects like cleaning the gutters occurs because safety protocols weren’t put into place for ladder safety. Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Make sure someone not only knows that you are climbing up that ladder, but that someone is on the ground spotting you just in case you have any problems.
- Always use a sturdy ladder that has a small shelf that can hold a large enough bucket to collect the leaf debris. Secure the bucket to the ladder with a lanyard. Never use an orchard ladder because they only have 3 legs and is not sturdy enough for this type of work.
- Aluminum and fiberglass ladders are safer choices than wooden ones.
- Always inspect the ladder for defects or loose parts before using it. Check to make sure that all screws and bolts are fastened tightly.
- When using a step ladder, always make sure the extension-hinge arms are fully extended and locked in place.
- While you are up on the roof, make sure you are aware of any power lines that are up there with you. Make sure they are not going to be in the way while you are working. Always be on the lookout for potential dangers.
Wear Proper Safety Gear
Cleaning the gutters might not seem like a hazardous chore where you need to be covered to head to toe in a hazmat suit, but there are some safety gear recommended to keep your hands, eyes and feet safe.
Soft suede gloves can not only protect your hands from the rotting debris and dirty water but also from cuts from any sharp or broken parts of the gutter. You should also wear safety goggles because you never know what might fly out of the gutters or downspout and hit you in the eye. And it is not just debris but rats, birds, even bees may fly out once you disturb them. For your feet the best thing to wear are rubber boots that will give you good traction if you have to walk on the roof.
Prevention Is Always Better
Of course even with all these tips, handling a clogged gutter is no picnic. The best way to cut down on the hassle is to maintain your gutters properly year round. Don’t wait until there is a clog; set up a regular maintenance schedule for either you or a professional gutter cleaning company to check out those gutters and make sure they are clean at least twice a year. If you have a lot of trees hanging over your house or you live in an area that experiences a lot of storms, you might want to do it more often.
There are also different gutter guards and leaf-catchers that can help make maintaining your gutter system a lot easier. But be careful when choosing one because, debris can still settle through them and many of these products are not cheap. If you do decide to get one, make sure it can be easily removed for cleaning.
Another product that can make maintaining your gutter system easier is TheSpoutOff. It is especially helpful if you have small rain gutter outlets because TheSpoutoff outlets are designed with a larger opening allowing for water to still run down even if other parts of the gutter are clogged. Another great plus is that these outlets are easy to keep clean through the removable downspout that allows you to check on the outlets without having to climb a ladder. With TheSpoutOff, a fear of heights or balance concerns will no longer keep you from properly taking care of your home and it is a lot cheaper than hiring a professional cleaner to come regularly to clear out all the debris.
The SpoutOff can be retrofitted to your current gutter system or it can be added to a new one, depending upon your needs. The instructions are relatively easy to follow so it is something you can easily install yourself, but any local gutter company can do it for you as well.
Want to learn more about how TheSpoutOff can make your seasonal outdoor chores a lot easier? Contact TheSpoutOff today to learn how it can take the hassle out of cleaning your gutters.