Seasonal Outdoor Maintenance: FOCUS ON GUTTER CLEANING By: Eric Doolittle, skilled trades superivisor

Eavestroughs, or gutters, are an important part of your home's exterior. They funnel rain water off the roof and channel it away from the house. This helps protect your roof, landscaping, siding, and prevents damage to the foundation.

When the gutters fill with leaves, twigs, or other debris it can cause clogs and backups of water. This water can work its way under the roof and cause leaks in the house. The water can also spill over the gutter and fall straight down and potentially seep into the basement and foundation. Clogged gutters can also cause ice dams in the winter months. These are a few reasons why it is important to clean out your gutters at least once a year.

The easiest way to maintain and clean your gutters is to hire the work out to a professional. But, the national average cost is $158. So, in order to save some money and get a nice sense of achievement, we will go into the steps the average homeowner can take to clean their gutters. Before attempting any home maintenance, be sure you follow and understand all safety procedures on the job you are about to perform.

Step 1: Make sure you have a good, sturdy extension ladder. The ladder must be tall enough to extend 2 feet above the roof edge. Follow the warning and instructions on the ladder to set it up and safely perform the work.

Step 2: Wear the proper clothing. This includes sturdy footwear, long sleeve shirt, and gloves. This can be a messy job.

Step 3: Lay down tarps or sheeting to protect landscaping from falling debris. A small trash bag can be used for collection and this makes final clean up much easier.

Step 4: There are many options for tools to clean out the gutter. A small scoop, specially made gutter tool, or even your hands can be used to remove debris.

Step 5: Once the majority of the debris is removed, it is a good idea to flush the gutters with a garden hose. This will remove any small material that was missed. It will also allow you to inspect for any leaks in the gutter system.

Now that your gutters are clean and working properly you can relax and feel good that you performed an important maintenance task. And you saved some money, too!


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