Gutter Cleaning Tips for Summer

If you haven’t cleaned the gutters this spring, summer is the next best time to do it when the weather is nice. Even if you had the gutters cleaned a couple of months ago, you will want to remove debris such as leaves, twigs, and silt that has built-up since and could potentially form clogs in the gutter trough or blockages around gutter outlets or inside downpipes. Gutter home maintenance will also help prevent the gutters from becoming a breeding ground for insects. Gutter cleaning tips for summer include inspecting the roof, avoiding power lines, and working smart in the sun.

Start with a Roof Inspection

Before you clean the gutters, start with a roof inspection. Not only will inspecting the roof alert you to anything that needs repair before winter arrives, but it will also allow you to assess how much debris is waiting to find a new home in the gutters. Typical areas where debris can be easily trapped are in roof valleys and around flashings. Avoid standing on the roof; be safe and use basic safety protocols.

Use a Spotter

One of the most common causes of accidents associated with home maintenance chores is falling from a ladder. Regardless of how new or how sturdy the ladder is, having a friend, neighbour, or family member to keep it steady while you’re moving around cleaning the gutters will help keep you safe.

Dress for the Part

Cleaning the gutters is a dirty job. And it can get hot. Make sure you dress for the part.

  • Wear protective gear – safety goggles; thick work gloves; non-skid soled shoes or boots
  • Wear a long-sleeved shirt and long pants
  • Wear a cap or hat with a brim

Use the Proper Gutter Cleaning Tools

While manually cleaning the gutters requires some basic tools, using the right ones for the task at hand can help keep you safe, save you time, and protect your gutters. Before cleaning the gutters make sure you gather everything you need so that you won’t have to climb up and down the ladder to fetch something.

Trowel vs. gutter scoop: A garden trowel will remove debris from the gutters just as easily as a gutter scoop but gutter scoops are designed to fit in the gutter trough and are usually made of plastic – won’t scratch aluminum gutters.

Ladder: You will need a ladder that’s tall enough for you to reach the gutters safely. The ladder should be durable and strong, but not too heavy, especially if the house is two storeys.

Garden hose and nozzle: Ensure that the garden hose is long enough to reach where it’s needed. A spray nozzle with adjustable settings allows you to control the direction and intensity of the water. Select one with a pistol-grip trigger; you will be able to hook on the ladder when you need to use both hands.

Other useful items: Common items used when cleaning the gutters include a bucket, garbage bags, an eco-friendly cleaning solution, rags or natural fiber cloths, and a soft bristle brush.

Check the Downspouts

Clear any clogs from the downspouts. Check that the brackets attaching the downpipes to an exterior wall are in good shape and tightly held in place – if not they can’t properly direct runoff away from your home’s foundation.

If you use a splash block or some type of a downspout extension, ensure that it is positioned correctly, hasn’t been damaged, or hasn’t been moved.

Avoid Power Lines

When cleaning the gutters, you will need to move the ladder several times during the process. Especially if the house is two or more storeys, as you move the ladder from one place to another, be aware of any power lines.

The same caution applies to if you have to work directly on the roof to clean the gutters = before you move or shift to a new position check for any obstacles.

Work Smart in the Sun

Don’t hurry and take regular breaks – you don’t want to experience heat exhaustion or dizziness.

Apply sunscreen if your face, etc. will be exposed to the sun.

Don’t forget to hydrate.