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Gutter Cleaning Tips

Gutter & Downspout Maintenance

Cleaning you gutters is one of those things that you know you need to do but you’d probably rather just let it go. But you probably already know that’s not a good idea. Actually, cleaning and maintaining your gutters can add years of life not only to your rain gutters but also to other parts of your home, too. Cracked or faulty gutters can lead to problems with roof leakage or damage to your foundation. So think of it as a relatively quick and easy way to save a ton of money in the long run!

Cleaning gutters isn’t rocket science and it’s more common sense than anything else, But there are a few ideas that you may not have thought of that can make the job a little easier and help you get the best results from your efforts. So, we thought we’d share some tips on how you can make the most out of cleaning your gutters and hopefully make it as quick and painless as possible.


Find out what you’re going to need and gather it all together before you even start. The last thing you want to do is climb up on a ladder and then realize you forgot something so you have to stop what you’re doing, climb back down, get what you need and then start up again. So, save yourself some time and aggravation and put together a short list of what you’re going to need.

Follow Procedure

The General Services Administration of the Federal government has a procedure for cleaning and maintaining gutters. It’s called the, “GENERAL INSPECTION AND MAINTENANCE OF GUTTERS AND DOWNSPOUTS”. Actually, they have some pretty good thoughts listed. For example:

  • A failed gutter often means that damage has spread; repairs will be extensive, maybe complicated, and probably expensive.
  • Make sure all downspout connections have wire strainers and that they are properly installed.  Strainers will block large debris and leaves that can block downspouts and sewer lines.
  • Small gutter leaks may force water into concealed cornice and roof areas leading to major defects.
  • Sweep debris from gutters with a wood or plastic tool shaped to fit into radii or corners.

As you might expect, they have a fairly detailed list of what to do when cleaning your gutters. Some of the points listed may not apply to your situation, but take a quick glance and see what you can use: Gutter and Downspout Maintenance.

The point about using a wood or plastic tool…make sure you put that on your list of what you need before you get started! (They recommend using a bleach solution. That may be a bit caustic and not very “environmental friendly.” You may like to look to some other milder, yet equally effective measures.)

The Toledo Blade had an article a while back about some tips for cleaning gutters with a few ideas we really liked:

  • Use a plumber’s snake to remove material from the bottom of the downspout.
  • If your roof has a low slope, you can use a leaf blower to blast material out of gutters
  • Realign gutters that drain improperly with new hangers or fasteners.

You can see the full article here.

The “Big Picture”

The most important thing that many overlook is the idea not to just go at this with the sole purpose of cleaning, but also do a thorough job of inspecting your gutters, downspouts and your entire drainage system. This can save you a lot of money and heartache down the road. If you notice any signs of leaks from your roof or walls, be sure to check that area on the exterior of your home. This can be an indication that there’s a problem and often times this can be seen from the damage to your gutter system. Check to see if there is a build-up of any debris in any area of your gutters.  This could indicate that your gutters are not draining property because of improper sloping. You’ll want to get that check out to make sure everything is in order.

Well, there you go. We hope you found some useful nuggets. And hopefully your next gutter cleaning project will be a lot quicker and more effective than you ever thought possible!

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