Why You Need to Keep Your Gutters Clean and Clear

If you’ve ever tackled cleaning out your roof gutters on your own, you know that it can sometimes be a pretty challenging and unpleasant chore. Perhaps you’re even to the point of asking yourself why (or if) clearing out your gutters really matters in the first place! Well, here’s the answer – yes, cleaning your gutters on a regular basis is really important to your roof system’s performance and longevity. Let’s start by talking about why that is.

You first need to understand how roof gutters work. One of the main ways that a roof helps to protect your home or business is by directing away rain and other precipitation. The fact of the matter is that all this moisture has to go somewhere, and that’s where gutters come in. The attached gutters and downspouts serve to conduct the flow of water off of your roof and away from your structure. When everything is working properly, it’s a pretty effective system!

At the same time, all it takes to stop the flow of water is for some built-up leaves and other debris to accumulate in your gutters. Whenever that happens, the water starts to back up, and this can result in some very real damage to your gutters, your roof, your foundation, and other aspects of your building’s infrastructure. Not good!

The Joys of Gutter Cleaning … Not!

By any measure, it’s hard to classify gutter cleaning as a “fun” activity. The tried-and-true, old-school method involves climbing up a ladder, physically reaching into your gutters, and being ready to get your hands nasty. While tackling the task from above may sound tempting to some, clambering around your roof probably isn’t the best approach to gutter cleaning. While it may not bother some folks to get on top of the roof, there are also some added safety risks that go along with this approach. Taking an accidental fall off your roof can result in serious injuries, some of which can even be life-threatening.

If you’re determined to clean your gutters by hand, we recommend that you stay on your ladder and reach into the gutters from underneath. Yes, you’ll have to move your ladder around several times in order to get to all your gutters, but the extra effort may be worth it in terms of providing for your personal safety. Here are some other tips we recommend if you’re going with the “reach and scoop” method:

  • A folding step ladder probably won’t get you up as high as you might need to be, especially for taller roof edges. Go with an extension ladder.
  • Speaking of working with ladders, it’s always best to have a partner on the ground to help stabilize the base of your ladder.
  • Unless you just like the feel of sinking your hands into a metal tube of muck, invest in a pair of sturdy work gloves or rubber gloves.
  • Don’t forget about clearing out the downspouts, as well. This is the spot where most debris tends to accumulate, and having a clear, free-flowing downspout is critical to the success of your roof gutter system.

Helpful Tips for Simplifying the Gutter Cleaning Process

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Now that we’ve worked through the bad news, there’s good news too. Reach-and-scoop isn’t the only way to clean a gutter! There are also some easier methods that involve MORE POWER, a.k.a. power tools. Let’s look at three in particular:

Ø  Leaf Blower

Leaf blowers don’t just speed up the process of ground raking. They can help to accelerate your gutter cleaning efforts, too, with much less reaching-and-scooping required. Just climb your extension ladder, point your leaf blower in the direction of your gutters, and start ejecting those leaves and debris. Alternatively, there are also some extension kits you can use to be able to operate your blower from ground level, so you won’t even have to climb a ladder! One downside of this method is that the muck which gets blown out of your gutters is also more likely to fall on you, so you certainly want to dress appropriately. Wearing goggles is a good idea to protect your eyes, as well.

Ø  Spray Hose

If your leaves and debris are still wet from the last storm, then a leaf blower may not be able to budge them. But you can move wet leaves with more water! In many cases, all you need to do is fit your garden hose with a spray nozzle, start at the far end of your gutter, and start flushing it out, working slowly towards the downspout end. One thing to keep in mind with this approach is that you want to keep your aim focused squarely on the gutter itself; a stream sprayed underneath the shingles can end up causing unwanted water damage. For this reason, we also don’t recommend using a power washer, as the sheer velocity of water spray can end up putting more water underneath your roof or even do damage to the roofing material itself.

Ø  Shop Vac

What if you could just vacuum out your gutters? Wouldn’t it be a beautiful thing not to have to worry about gutter gunk being blown or sprayed everywhere? Well, you can! Wet/dry vacuums can handle almost any category of gutter debris. There are now straight and curved attachment kits available that are specifically designed for cleaning out gutters from a standing position on the ground. As long as your aim is good enough to land the tip of your extended tubing into the heart of your gutter, you can suck out A LOT of debris and filth with your wet/dry vac. Once you’ve vacuumed the bulk of debris, some experts also recommend following up with a simple garden hose flush to remove any residual material.

For an Even Easier Solution, Just Install a Gutter Guard!

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Unless you just happen to enjoy cleaning out your gutters on a regular basis, there’s actually a better solution available. Install a quality gutter guard which is engineered to prevent your gutters from ever becoming clogged in the first place! Gutter guards are designed to mount on top of your gutters and prevent leaves or debris from accumulating while still allowing water to flow through freely. Pretty cool. These gutter guards keep you from having to climb a ladder and do the work by hand, they help prevent ice dams and hanging icicles, and they also help prevent nesting by birds and rodents. Less combustible material collecting in your gutters means there’s less of a fire threat where your roof is concerned, too.

About the Author


David composes for points like Home Improvement, Kitchen stylistic layout, Garden or travel-related themes furthermore; he has an enthusiasm for the metal structure industry for over ten years. Kylo has become an accomplished structure expert in this industry. He will probably assist individuals with his huge information to help them with his best recommendations about various home Decors. For example, Doors Replacements, Gutter Installation, Siding, Windows replacements,  and business structures.