An important, yet often overlooked, part of home and garden maintenance is cleaning your gutters. It is a simple task that is quick to do if you have a leaf blower, but if you do not have the right tools for the job, it may be better to call in the professionals.
Professional gardening and landscaping services offer gutter cleaning. Cleaning your gutters at least twice a year, in spring and fall, is a crucial part of home maintenance. Fallen leaves, branches and debris collect in gutters, causing an array of problems if they are not removed.
Many homeowners are not aware of the importance of gutter cleaning. Often, they only realize that there is a problem with the gutters once a damp patch starts spreading through the wall. By regularly cleaning gutters, one can prevent having to make expensive repairs to your house or roof.
Is Gutter Cleaning Really Necessary?
Cleaning your gutters may seem like just another menial task, but the importance of this chore cannot be understated. During storms, gutters can fill up with fallen leaves, branches, and debris. If these are not cleared out, the gutters will become clogged. This can result in the following:
- Overflowing gutters cause water to spill over onto flower beds, causing damage to blooms and making holes in the soil.
- During winter, water and debris that gets trapped in the gutter can freeze, forming heavy blocks of ice.
- The excess weight of the wet or frozen debris stresses the gutters, gutter brackets, and the gutter mounting and can cause them to crack, leak and eventually break.
- The trapped moisture causes copper, steel, or aluminum gutters to rust and corrode, causing leaks and eventually to the gutters needing to be replaced.
- Gutters and downpipes that are blocked up with debris cause leaks that can lead to water damage on the exterior and interior of the house.
- Clogged up gutters attract animals, like rodents and bees. Moist leaves are also a breeding ground for mold. Avoid infestations in your roof by cleaning gutters regularly.
How Often Should Gutters Be Cleaned?
Generally, gutters should be cleaned out twice a year, in spring and fall. However, your gutters may need to be cleaned more frequently if your house is near large trees that lose their leaves. For example, if there are pine trees in your area, you may need to clean the pine needles out every three months.
Cleaning your gutters regularly makes the job easier because it does not allow heavy blockages to build up. In addition, doing this chore just once or twice a year can save you from having to make expensive repairs to your house.
The Best Ways to Clean Gutters
Cleaning your gutters is a simple task, but you need to have the right equipment and take precautions to stay safe. Gutters can be cleaned from the ground or from a ladder. Whichever method you choose, remember:
- Do not climb onto the roof. Falling from the roof is one of the most common reasons people end up in the emergency ward! It should only be done by professionals with the proper safety gear.
- Protective gear is a must. Wear protective gloves and safety goggles.
Regardless of which method you use, it is also better to wait a few days after it has rained, as removing dry matter from your gutters is much easier than when it is wet, heavy, and stuck together.
Cleaning Gutters from the Ground
To clean your gutters without climbing a ladder, you will need a leaf blower with a gutter cleaning attachment. These are available at most hardware stores.
All you need to do is put the curved end of the leaf blower attachment into the gutter, switch on the leaf blower and walk around your house slowly, blowing the leaves out of the gutters.
Take care not to blow the leaves and debris into the downspouts, as this will clog them.
Cleaning Gutters from a Ladder
If you do not have a leaf blower, you will need to climb up onto a ladder to reach your gutters. This is not too daunting if you have a single-story home.
You will need:
- A ladder
- Garden hose with a spray nozzle
- A gutter scoop or trowel
- A bin bag or plastic tarp
- Safety goggles and gloves
Follow these simple steps:
- Prepare your workstation by setting up the ladder according to its safety guidelines.
- Attach a bin bag to a hook on the ladder or lay down a plastic tarp to catch the debris.
- Start by removing large branches and pieces of debris with your hands (using gloves).
- Next, using a hand trowel or gutter scoop, remove the leaves and dirt. Start near the downpipes and move along as you progress.
- After scooping out all the leaves, use a garden hose with a spray nozzle to clean out all the remaining dirt and fine debris. Direct the dirt towards the downpipes using the water so that it can flow out.
Get Your Gutters Cleaned Professionally
Gutter cleaning can be quite a daunting task, especially if you have a big two-story home or a steeply slanting roof. In these cases, it would be better to hire an expert. These gutter cleaning jobs require climbing up onto the roof, which is dangerous without the proper safety equipment and training.
Most gardening and landscaping services will clean your gutters for you. They have all the proper tools needed for the job and have insurance in case of an accident.
When a gardener comes to clean your gutters, let them know where you think there are problems, like blockages or leaks. They will clean and check those spots thoroughly and can seal leaks.
Having someone climb onto your roof regularly to inspect it for damage or leaks is hugely beneficial to prevent expensive repairs to your roof or house.
For one- and two-story or terraced houses, gardeners can use traditional gutter cleaning equipment, but they may need to use specialized equipment for larger buildings higher than 50 feet.
How Much Does It Cost to Have Gutters Cleaned?
On average, garden services or gutter cleaning companies in the US charge between $1.00 and $2.00 per foot of guttering. In the UK, the average cost is £5 per meter of guttering.
Therefore, if you have a small single-story or terraced house, your bi-annual gutter cleaning would cost very little, as you probably only have 5 to 10 meters of guttering. However, if you have a bigger home, with 15 to 20 meters of guttering, the price is going up.
Some gardeners or gutter cleaning services charge an hourly rate, between $25-35, or a daily rate, between $250-275.
Gutter cleaning is a vital part of home maintenance. You should clean them bi-annually, in spring and fall. However, if your house is near trees or in an area with many pine trees, you may need to clean your gutters more often, as fallen leaves, sticks, and debris collect in guttering and can clog them. This can cause functional and structural damage to your house.
It is simple to clean your guttering yourself if you have a leaf blower with a gutter cleaning attachment or are comfortable climbing up a ladder and using a gutter scoop to remove debris by hand.
Professional gardeners or landscaping services can also clean your gutters when required. They have the necessary tools, safety equipment and skills to get the job done quickly and thoroughly. The cost of having your gutters cleaned is relative to the amount of guttering you have or the size of your house.
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