Fall is a beautiful time of year: warm days and crisp, cool mornings and evenings; Ohio State football; the World Series; and, of course, the leaves… Who can forget the leaves? The leaves are gorgeous as they turn all kinds of vibrant colors before they fall from the trees and clog our gutters and downspouts.
Clogged gutters and downspouts can lead to water damage from storm water overflows and backups. Gutters in need of repair can cause erosion around your house, basement leaks, damage to exterior walls and your home’s foundation. Clogged gutters are also inviting to pests like carpenter ants, other insects, and rodents.
Here in Ohio, most experts recommend cleaning and inspecting your gutters at least twice a year, more often if your home is surrounded by trees. Cleaning gutters is a relatively easy, albeit a messy job. You’ll need a sturdy ladder, a couple of buckets, gloves, and a garden trowel or scoop. Keep in mind, you’re going to encounter some dirt and dust, so a dust mask and safety goggles, although not imperative, come in handy, as well.
Here are some easy steps to cleaning your gutters:
- Using the scoop, trowel, or your gloved hand, remove all the leaves, sticks, pine needles and other debris from your gutters.
- Once you’ve cleaned out all the larger debris, use your garden hose to flush the gutters out.
- If you have a clogged downspout, use a plumber’s snake to create an opening, and then clear out the rest of the debris with the hose.
- After thoroughly flushing out the gutters, look for any standing water, which indicates the gutter is not sloped correctly.
- Allow your gutters to dry thoroughly before inspecting them for damage.
- Use silicone sealer on both sides of all joints to fix any leaks at the seams.
- Use sealant inside the joint to fix leaks at end caps.
- If you have steel gutters and see any rust holes, you should consider replacing them.
- If you do live in an area with lots of trees and you regularly have a lot of debris to clean, consider adding leaf guards and strainers to your gutters.
Don’t be afraid to wave the white flag and call in professionals if you don’t have a sturdy ladder, or are afraid of heights, or of getting dirty. Also, if you encounter a particularly stubborn clogged downspout, give us a call. We’ll be happy to help you clear the clog.