Easiest Way – Clean Out Gutters
You can view all of my Posts by clicking on the following Link: HelpMeFixHome.com
For some of us, Cleaning Gutters is a simple, yet necessary task. For others, climbing a Ladder is no fun, so Gutter Cleaning can sometimes be put off or intentionally ignored. In this post: Easiest Way – Clean Out Gutters, I will show you the best way to complete this Project efficiently.
Cleaning Gutters is a very necessary task that needs to done a couple of times each year to insure that your Home does not experience any damage due to not completing this task.
Gutters that are full of debris can cause the following problems:
- Debris buildup causes water retention, and the combination will cause unnecessary weight that can cause the Gutters to slowly dislodge from the Fascia Boards to which they are attached. Eventually, they will come down. Keep in mind, that each Gallon of water weighs about 8 pounds.
- Debris buildup with water retention will freeze when it gets cold enough, causing expansion and possible cracking of the Gutters. This will also cause additional snow buildup during the cold season, which can cause additional damage to the Roof, as well as to the Fascia Boards, causing rotting and decay.
- During heavy rains, Gutters containing debris, cause the water to shed over the edge of the Gutter, rather than running down the Downspouts as they have been designed to do. This will cause massive amounts of water to be added along the foundation of the Home, causing possible seepage into the Basement or Crawl Space area.
- Even if no seepage into the Home is experienced, a Sump Pump will be actively running more often and longer, shortening it’s life span.
None of the above scenarios are healthy for your Home. So, whether you clean your Gutters yourself, or hire someone to do it, it is a task that should not be ignored.
Unfortunately, the easiest way to Clean Gutters is simply to get a Ladder, climb up, and remove the debris. You can Save your Money by not buying any of those Gutters Covers that are on the market. Each one comes with it’s own set of shortcomings, and you will not be pleased with the outcome after spending your money on them.
Some will simply blow off during a wind storm. Others will clog, and you will have to clean them instead of your Gutter. Still others will crack quickly over a short time, and will require replacement. Some will simply not operate efficiently in a heavy rain, causing the water from your Roof to merely shed over the edge as if you had no Gutters installed.
Since Gutter Cleaning is strictly a labor only type of Project, it will probably not be necessary for you to purchase any Materials, unless you need to install any Gutter Extensions to your Downspouts. You will simply need some Tools that you probably already own.
Tools & Supplies Needed
- Safety Glasses
- Mechanic’s Gloves (for dry debris)
- Water-Proof Gloves (for wet debris)
- Extension Ladder
- 5- Gallon Bucket
- Bungee Cord
- Extension Cords (not needed if using a gas-powered blower)
- Garbage Cans or Leaf Bags
In order to purchase any Tools & Supplies Needed, see the appropriate page in any of the drop-down pages under: Home – Garden: Tools and Equipment List in my Top Menu.
Scroll down the list to find the correct item. You will find an explanation of that item, as well as, links under each item, which direct you to my Recommended Suppliers for you to check out their offerings.
If adding Gutter Extensions, the following additional Tools and Supplies are required:
- Gutter Extensions (at least 6’ long)
- #8 x 0.375” Self-Tapping Phillips-Drive Exterior Gutter Screws (color to match Gutter, and number of screws needed equals (2) for each Gutter Extension)
- Cordless Drill with appropriate Bit or Phillips Hand Screwdriver
For those of you that will need to order any Gutter Extensions for your Downspouts, Assess your needs, and complete the first (5) Steps on my page: 5 Steps for Project Management Then return here to complete the rest of these Step-by-Step Instructions.
For those that do not need any Gutter Extensions, please continue with these Instructions.
Step 1 – Blower Clean the Gutter
Blow out any dry debris from the gutter at your 1st vantage point.
Tip: When using ladders, always make sure that you have an assistant working with you. They can stabilize the ladder while you are on it, and will be near to assist you in case of any unfortunate accident. Please proceed with High Caution.
Set up your ladder at the furthest point away from the Downspout. Using your Blower, clean as much debris as you can from a given vantage point, without stretching too far.
Tip: It is never recommended to go onto your roof and attempt to blow the debris from that vantage point. You could easily lean over a little too far and fall off of the roof.
- It is best and easiest to Clean Gutters when they are dry. It is not recommended to use a Blower if your Gutter contains water, or your debris is wet. When dealing with wet debris or water in your Gutters, you should skip Step 1.
- Wear Mechanic’s Gloves if working with dry debris or use Water-Proof Gloves if debris is wet. Set up your Extension Ladder on solid ground, using scrap pieces of Plywood under the Legs if the ground is not level or is wet, in order to stabilize the Ladder. Extend the Ladder so that it is at least a foot above the Gutter, pitched at a comfortable climbing angle, and fairly level.
- Put on your Safety Glasses and Gloves, take your Blower (hooked up with the appropriate Extension Cords if electrically powered) up the Ladder with you and blow out as much debris as you can from your 1st vantage point, being careful not to lean too far, which may cause you to become unstable on the Ladder.
Step 2 – Hand Pick the Remaining Debris
Hand pick the remaining debris from the gutter, depositing it in your 5-gallon bucket.
- Come back down the Ladder and set your Blower on the ground. Take your 5-Gallon Bucket and Bungee Cord, tie the Bungee in a knot near the center of a top rung of the Ladder, and hang your Bucket from the Bungee Hooks. Then, hand pick any remaining debris in the Gutter at the 1st vantage point, depositing the debris into the Bucket.
- When finished in the 1st area, descend the Ladder, leaving your Bucket attached, and move the Ladder down the line, repositioning it for the next ascent. Reposition any Plywood used for stabilization.
- Repeat Steps 1 and 2 until you reach the Downspout at the other end of the Gutter. Make sure that you use your Blower to blow into the Downspout in order to clear any trapped debris. You can position a crumpled piece of paper at the end of the Downspout to test if your Blower is blowing through and that the Downspout is not clogged. If the Downspout is clogged, you will need to bang on it with your hand from top to bottom or bottom to top until any debris is dislodged.
- Repeat the process for the remaining Gutters on your Home, emptying your Bucket whenever it becomes full.
Step 3 – Clean up the Mess
Clean up any debris from your Lawn and Plant Beds that has been deposited there from blowing out the Gutters.
- Once all your Gutters have been successfully cleaned, use your Rake to clean up any debris blown out of the Gutters, and dispose of all debris appropriately.
Step 4 – Install Any Needed Gutter Extensions
Purchase and install any needed Gutter Extensions.
- Your Downspouts should empty at least 6’ away from your foundation. Purchase and install any needed Gutter Extensions at this time. Place Gutter Extension over existing Gutter End, making sure that it is firmly in place. Using your Self-Tapping Screws and Cordless Drill with the appropriate Bit installed, place a Screw in the center of each side about 1” from the end of the Gutter Extension. Be careful not to over tighten and strip the Screw.
- Make sure that any existing Gutter Extensions are not crimped at the exit. You can easily straighten any crimped ends using a Hammer handle or similar object to return them to their original shape.
Put all of your Tools away.
Please take the time to leave a Comment or ask a Question in the Comments section below. Let me know how your Project went.