Nobody likes it when they have to spend their free time doing home maintenance, especially if it involves cleaning the gutters. It can be a very messy and exhausting chore. While gutter cleaning might not be something you want to do in the first place, it’s worse if you have to do it twice, put it off, or become injured in the process. Here are some gutter cleaning mistakes homeowners make and some tips on how to avoid them.
Planning to clean the gutters by yourself is not a good idea. Have an assistant; someone to stabilize the ladder while you are on it, hand you tools, garbage bags, etc., and just be there should something happen.
Cleaning the Gutters First
Leaves, twigs, and other kinds of debris get snagged on roof flashings and collect in the valleys of a roofing system. Eventually, though, wind or heavy rain will deposit them into the gutters. When you clean the gutters first before cleaning the roof, you might be making extra work for yourself.
Using the Ladder Incorrectly
Often people don’t look where they’re going when setting up the ladder to clean the gutters and they end up hitting power lines, banging into siding, or tripping over obstacles on the ground.
Aluminum gutters are easily dented; don’t lean the ladder directly against them.
Another common gutter cleaning mistake homeowners make is to move the ladder as little as possible. This encourages overreaching and can result in tipping over or falling off the ladder.
Using a Leaf Blower
Using a leaf blower instead of a garden hose to remove twigs, leaves, pine cones, etc. from the gutter channel can be quicker. But a leaf blower or a shop vac with attachments is bulky and more difficult to operate when standing on a ladder. It is also more difficult to control the direction of the debris – typically it ends up in the air and then becomes scattered instead of neatly in one place where it can be scooped up.
Using a Pail to Remove Gutter Debris
Using a pail or bucket to remove gutter debris creates twice the work – take it out of the gutters and dump it right into a garbage bag, which can be disposed of immediately. This reduces the number of times you have to handle the debris. Since most of the gunk removed from gutters is compostable, it will make gardening and/or recycling easier.
Cleaning on the Roof
While it might seem cleaning the gutters when working from the roof will give a better view of what needs to be done, it can be extremely dangerous, regardless of the precautions you take. If you’re using the proper safety protocols, cleaning the gutters on a ladder is actually safer.