It’s important to keep your gutter system clear for a number of reasons. First, maintaining your gutters is key to keeping your walls and foundation protected from water damage. Second, unkempt gutters can become a haven for small animals that can do damage to your roof and home. In short, having clean gutters protects your home.
Gutter guards or a gutter cover can help prevent leaves from clogging your gutters. However, even if you have them installed you should still check your gutters to make sure they aren’t clogged with the small debris that can get through.
You should clean your gutters at least twice a year. Once in the spring and once in the fall. The first thing to do when clearing your gutters is to remove large leaves and other debris. You’ll want to wear work gloves for this task because it can be very dirty. Remove any gutter cover and use a garden trowel or gutter scoop to get all of the debris out that you can.
After you’ve removed most of the debris, grab your garden hose and flush the gutters. You want to make sure that water flows into the gutter from one end to the other, and that water is flowing through gutters and downspouts unimpeded. If the water doesn’t seem to be draining quickly through your downspout, you can feed the hose UP the downspout. This will help dislodge any clogs that may have happened while cleaning. If you still have a clog you may need to use a plumber’s snake to get in and pull out the blockage.
Your downspout is a critical part of your home’s drainage system; so to protect your home and landscaping, make sure it is clear of blockages and your downspout is long enough to divert water away from your foundation. You can also get a downspout extender if you feel yours isn’t long enough.
Finally, after you’ve made sure that your rain gutter is clear and that water is running through quickly, you can seal any leaking seams or joints with gutter sealant. If you’ve got gutter screens you can replace them once this is done. If you don’t, you might want to consider getting them to help minimize the task in the future.