Gutters are one of the pieces of your home that you probably never think about if they’re working properly. They do their job quietly and effectively, moving run-off water from your roof so that it lands and stays in the right place.
But when gutters get clogged, it can be disastrous. Basically any time it rains, hundreds of gallons of water are running from your roof and straight into the gutters, and when clogged, this means a ton of weight for gutters to bear. With autumn approaching, the risk of clogging is as high as ever, as leaves, sticks, and other debris rain down from the heavens.
To make sure your gutters stay clog-free and keep your rainwater flowing the right way, here is our guide to inspecting them efficiently.
Before you get started, you should pay special attention to your security and safety during this task, especially if you have a high roof. Make sure to use a sturdy ladder, and if you can, get someone to hold the base.
Since checking and clearing out gutters requires you to use your arms and hands to reach and pick out debris, it’s easy to lose your balance atop the ladder. It’s not hugely dangerous, but it is something to watch out for; you’d hate to go to check the gutters and end up with a sprained ankle or broken bone.
What You’ll Need
Checking your gutters is not a complex task, but there are still tools that can help.
Ladder: First off is the ladder, as we mentioned, which is most often a necessity. Some homes have roofs that are accessible through upstairs windows, but we don’t recommend checking gutters from above as a general rule of thumb.
Gloves: You’re probably going to want to wear gloves, as you never know what is hiding under all those leaves and branches, especially at the height of autumn. Not only is it gross, but there could also be annoying pests like ants or spiders beneath the rubble. You’ll especially want to wear gloves if you’re checking the gutters after it rains and the debris is wet, but we recommend trying to do this task on a more dry day.
Hose: While not absolutely necessary, a hose – specifically one with an attachment for high-pressure sprays – is really helpful, especially if there’s a clog or just a lot of debris. With a hose, you can use your gloved hands to remove large pieces and then spray away the rest.
Tarp/Bucket: If you don’t care much about the space below your gutters, don’t worry about this one. However, there’s a good chance a lot of dirt, grime, and dust is going to fall beneath you as you clear away the gutters, and having a bucket or tarp nearby is a good way to alleviate this problem, leaving your garden nice and clean the whole time.
Now that you’ve got your gear and your friend is nearby to hold the ladder, it’s time to actually do the deed and get those gutters cleaned and checked for the fall and winter seasons.
One thing to keep in mind as you begin this task is that you’re not simply checking your gutters for leaves and debris, you’re also checking the actual structure of the gutters to ensure that when push comes to shove, they’re going to hold up. After a long spring and summer, sometimes joints and attachments can come loose, which you’ll want to be aware of and try to fix before the leaves start falling.
Know Your Enemy
Okay so the gutter is not your enemy, it’s actually your friend. But it’s good to know what to look for as you begin this task. There are two basic parts of your gutter; there is the piece that catches all the water and runs along the edge of your roof, and then there is the actual tube that releases the water where it needs to go.
Once you’ve finished clearing out any stray debris and hosing down the gutters to make them as clean as possible, you’re going to want to check all the joints that attach the pieces together. You’ll also want to make sure that the various screws and bolts that actually keep the gutter stuck to the roof are sturdy. Often, all you need to do is tighten a few things, but if there are any glaring issues, it’s good to be aware early on.
After you’ve removed the debris, simply throw it in the trash can (or wait for bulk trash week, if there’s a lot of it; hopefully this is not the case). Then, put your things away and make any necessary calls to get your gutter repaired before the autumn begins and the leaves begin to plummet, which can cause clogs and frustration during storms.
For all your plumbing needs, we’re here for you. To get your home winterized, learn more about underground sprinkler systems, and everything in between, we’re ready to help. Call us today!
North OKC: (405) 895-6640
South OKC: (405) 237-1414