Now that spring is here and we’re planning to spruce up our homes, cleaning the gutters should be at the top of our home maintenance check list. Even though you have cleaned the gutters fairly regularly throughout the years, you might still have a question or two about the whole process. While the following frequently asked questions about DIY gutter cleaning are pretty standard some of the answers might surprise you.
How do gutters get dirty?
Gutters channel water from the roof and guide it through the gutter system, dispelling rainwater from the downspouts at a safe distance from a home’s exterior. Debris can be deposited into the gutter channel in several ways:
- The wind blows leaves, twigs, and pine needles from nearby trees
- Rain washes granules and organic and inorganic materials off the roof
- Nesting pests, birds, and insects
When debris collects in the gutters, clogs can form, stopping rainwater from flowing down the downspouts. This is why gutter cleaning is important.
Should I DIY cleaning the gutters?
Cleaning the gutters yourself can save you money. It is a relatively easy DIY project that requires a few basic tools such as gloves, goggles, a sturdy ladder, and plastic gutter scoops. You’re your own boss which means you can clean them at your own convenience. However, there are some circumstances when it might be better to hire a pro.
- If the house is more than two storeys
- If parts of the gutter system are hard to reach
- If you experience mobility difficulties, balance issues or fear of heights
- If you are unsure about how to clean and maintain the gutter material your system is made of
- If you keep saying you’ll put it on your current home maintenance list but never seem to get around to it
How often should I clean the gutters?
How often gutters should be cleaned depends on a number of factors. If you live near a factory you will probably need to gutter clean more often than someone living in a house on a quiet street. It also depends on the trees growing on your property – how many, how many near the gutters, and what kind of trees (coniferous, deciduous, or a mix)?
Most gutter professionals advise homeowners to clean a gutter system twice a year. Clean it once in autumn after the leaves have fallen, then in the spring once blossoms have dropped from the branches.
When there are not many trees in you neighbourhood or you live in a secluded area away from high traffic areas, gutters can be cleaned once a year. But inspect them seasonally to ensure they are still functioning properly.
What is the best way to clean my gutters?
There are several effective ways to clean the gutters. These include gutter cleaning:
- From the ground
- With a garden hose
- With a wet/dry vacuum
- From a ladder
- With a leaf blower
Use a method you are comfortable with. For example, if heights make you uneasy, choose a gutter cleaning solution that keeps your feet on the ground. However you choose to clean the gutters, ensure you use the proper attachments, the equipment you’re using is in good working order, and you use a ladder safely.
Should I use a pressure washer?
A pressure washer sprays water at high pressure through a concentrating nozzle while a power washer releases hot water at a high pressure. While both pressure washers and power washers are effective in efficiently removing grease, residue, and other kinds of materials from decks, driveways, and windows, they can dent aluminum gutters and damage roofing tiles.
Can I walk on the roof if I need to?
Even a low-pitch roof isn’t safe for a homeowner to walk on. When a professional gutter cleaning technician needs to access the roof, he or she knows how to work safely and walk on roofing tiles without doing any damage.