Tips and tricks to check and clean your gutters this summer
We all know that checking and cleaning your gutters is an important part of a summer house cleaning routine, but let’s face it... it’s a dirty and sometimes dangerous job that many people put off.
“None of us tend to go out in the rain and look at how our gutters are performing for the job they’re designed to do. This is why it’s so important to regularly check gutters for things like blocks, sags and fall.”
With that in mind, here are some tips and tricks to help you get the job done quickly, safely and without falling off the roof!
Checking your gutters
Use a selfie stick
Yes I know that they look a bit stupid and they’re usually kept in the realm of self-obsessed teenagers or New Year's Eve revellers, but a selfie stick is a really great way to check your gutters without having to get up on the roof.
Simply attach your phone (assuming it has a camera) to the selfie stick and move around the house looking at the gutters. You may need to use a ladder if you have a high roof or two story house.
This simple tip will:-
- Reduce the risk of falling off the roof
- Let you know if you actually need to clean the gutters
- Will let you know prior to starting what you’re up for (sticks, leaves, tennis balls, etc)
What to check for
There’s a few things you will want to check for when looking over your gutters for summer. Obviously if you live in a bushfire-prone area, the first thing you will want to check for is fuel for fires in the guise of sticks, twigs, leaves and other plant-based material. This will need to be cleaned out to ensure they don’t catch fire if embers or flames touch them.
If rust manages to make it’s way into your gutters, this can lead to holes in your gutter. This is bad news as it means water starts flowing through these holes and not down your storm water pipes.
This can lead to problems with mould, damp spots and in severe cases, structural and foundation issues.
The fall is the direction of gutter and the way the water flows. Usually if you have a span of roof with downpipes at each end, the highest point will be in the middle and the fall will make it’s way to the gutter at each end of the house. If for example the guttering is sagging or the fall is the wrong way, this will lead to water pooling in your gutters.
The simplest and easiest way to check the fall of your gutters is with a spirit level. Remember you don’t need much of an angle for the water to flow towards your downpipes.
These are the connections to your guttering that keeps it attached to your roof. They look like the image to your left, although there are different types, models and styles, these are most common around Brisbane and Queensland.
It’s important to ensure that all your gutter hangers (sometimes called gutter clips) are attached. If they’re not, simply clip your gutters back onto the clips. Sometimes you may need to give them a tiny bend with a pair of plyers to get them in, but usually they simply clip on.
Cracks, bends or holes
Again it‘s important to fix up small issues before they become big problems. Checking for cracks, holes and bends in your guttering is a good way to ensure your gutters are always in tip top shape for storm season.
Cleaning your gutters
When it comes to cleaning your gutters there are many different ways to do this. There is also the option to ‘leaf proof’ your gutters with a product like gutter guard, gutter mesh or leaf guard (pretty much all the same concept). If a preventative option isn’t on the cards for you any time soon, here’s a few tips for cleaning your gutters.
Tip - It’s always a good idea to wear gloves when cleaning gutters, this will save your hands from scrapes and cuts, plus it will keep out any pathogens in the rotting leaf matter that usually has bird and animal droppings in it.
Use a Garden Cultivator
A simple garden cultivator can be a really handy tool to use to clean your gutters with. This is particularly handy if you don’t want to or can’t get on a ladder anymore. Simply put three of the prongs in your gutters and use the last prong for guidance and move your way along the guttering, removing leaves as you go.
If you want a better example, take a look at the video below.
Use a Gutter Scooper
These are handy little scoops built specifically for cleaning out your gutters. This will however require you to get onto the roof so please be careful with ladders and being on the roof. (Personally if I need to get on the roof I put on a pair of trusty dunlop volley’s)
Using the scoop is as simple as moving it along the gutter and the specially designed scoop will shovel up any leaf matter giving you nice clean gutters!
Tip - You can pick these up from a hardware store for about $4
Use a hose or high pressure cleaner
This is a great way to clean the gutters BUT only after you’ve gotten the larger bits of leaf matter and debris from your gutters. I don’t think I really need to give you a step by step instruction list of how to do this as it’s pretty self explanatory.
Tip - A high pressure cleaner is also a great way to clean out any loose debris from your downpipes. You can put a hose down there also on a jet setting if you don’t have a gurney.
Important Note - It’s really important that you look out for live power lines, particularly if you’re using a metal ladder. Checking your roof and gutters can be fraught with unseen hazards, but if you take your time and keep your wits about you everything will be fine.
So these are our tips and tricks on how to check and clean your gutters. Get yourself and your home ready for summer storm season today.