If more building owners and facilities managers knew the proper way to clean out their roof gutters, there would be fewer injuries and deaths and far less property damage.
Fall is the season when gutters are cleaned out in preparation for the rainy season around the corner.
If the rainwater doesn’t flow properly through the gutter and downspout system, costly repairs can add up from rainwater damage or freezing.
It’s time to clean out those clogged gutters, and to do it safely.
Practice Ladder Safety
Make certain that you use a sturdy ladder. Ladders have a rating system that designates the weight capacity of who uses it.
Many inexpensive ladders can be rated as a household ladder or a Type III ladder rated at 200 lbs. This type of ladder is less rigid than the heavier duty ladders with higher ratings of 250 to 300 lbs. leaving the user feeling shaky.
With fear of the stability it’s hard to work comfortably.
Always set the ladder on level ground.
This is often not practical with homes built on hilly terrain and side slopes.
A safe solution to this is adjustable legs. Without this blocking has to be used to prop up the ladder to keep it level and then the issue is how well the leveling is done.
Naturally the ground the ladder is put on affects its safe use.
Use Your Garden Hose
Use a garden hose with a pistol-grip trigger spray nozzle, as this type of nozzle will allow you to adjust the water pressure with the use of just one hand. A pistol-grip trigger spray nozzle can be easily hung over the front edge of the gutter while moving the ladder or while using a gutter scoop.
This type of spray nozzle can be purchased at any hardware or landscape supply store.
Protect Your Hands & Eyes
Eye protection is an important consideration when gutter cleaning because you never know what might fly out of the gutter or downspout when cleaning. Insects, sticks and other debris that may become airborne while cleaning gutters pose a hazard to your eyes, that can be easily protected with inexpensive clear shop glasses available at any home center.
Use gloves to protect your hands from rotting debris and bacteria from animal and bird droppings.
Unclog the Downspout
Check the elbows for clogs specifically.
First, try using a leaf blower from the bottom.
Be sure to wear goggles, as you may be getting a lot of debris flying up and out. This will loosen debris that might get stuck if you try first using a hose or a stick.
If you can reach the clog from above, try to free the obstruction with a stick, a hose, a plumbing snake or a pressure washer with a telescoping wand.
If you can’t reach it either way, disassemble and remove the clog.
Schedule Your Next Gutter-Cleaning
One of the biggest reasons that gutters become clogged is because they’re so easily forgotten about. Gutters should be cleaned out at least twice a year, but some homeowners get caught up on daily life and forget to schedule the time to clean them out.
So, now that you’ve finished cleaning out your gutters, look at the calendar and schedule your next cleaning. Use your phone or a post-it to make a reminder so you won’t forget. Your roof will thank you!