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Tips on How to Clean Gutters and Downspouts

The most important tip is to be safe.

  • Wear heavy gloves to protect your hands from sharp objects and also wear  safety glasses to protect your eyes froDSC00557am flying debris.
  • Use a strong ladder. Make sure all the rungs are solid and have no cracks. Place the ladder itself on a level surface. If you are using an extension ladder, make sure you protect the surface of the gutter. A piece of cardboard placed in between the ladder and the gutter or a 2 x 6 placed into the gutter against the ladder  will work fine. If you’re roof is one story and is low pitched, you can work from the roof and avoid having to work off of the ladder. Be careful stepping off and stepping on to the ladder.

If the weather is dry and  the debris in the gutters are also dry,  you can save a lot of time by using a leaf blower. Under these circumstances this method is quite a time saver.

DSC00480aIf the debris is wet or just soggy, you will have to scoop out the debris by hand and either drop it onto the ground or into a container. A small garden hand shovel works pretty well for this. You can push the debris along the gutter until you have a full scoop or handful and then remove it. There are also quite a few cleaning tools that are available in the market designed specifically for cleaning  gutters. Some are even usable from the ground via an extension pole.

After you have removed the majority of the debris with the hand shovel, you can then rinse the remainder with a garden hose. Start at the opposite end of the downspout and push the water on the gutter until you’ve rinsed the entire section into the downspout. You might have to install a high-pressure nozzle at the end of the hose if you don’t have enough water pressure to do the job.

Once you have flushed your downspouts,  you may have found that some material or debris is stuck in the downspout itself. If you’re unable to push it out using high-pressure water, you can use a plumbing router to loosen the debris enough so that it can flow out.

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