DIY – Fall Home Maintenance Tip #1

Autumn Leaves

Fall is a lovely time of year. The temperatures are mild and the scenery around us is beautiful as the leaves change colors and dance in autumn breezes slightly blowing. It’s a time for photography and capturing our families in front of gorgeous backdrops. It is also a time of maintenance for homeowners.

Unfortunately for homeowners though, trees planted near our homes can drop their leaves into our gutters. This is why a good gutter cleaning is important this time of the year.  Gutters are a very important part of home maintenance.

Leaves clogging Gutter
Leaves clogging Gutter

Many Homeowners don’t realize the significance that gutters provide for protecting their home. Unfortunately, gutters are one of the most neglected parts of home maintenance. Improperly installed gutters and/or gutters that have been neglected can cause serious damage to our homes over a period of time.

Leaves from trees can clog up downspouts.
Leaves from trees can clog up a downspout.

Gutters help keep water away from our home’s foundation. Often times, crawlspace and basement water damage can come from one or more clogged downspout or from not properly directly water flow away from homes. Also gutters can back-flow causing rot to your soffit and fascia. In some cases, a clogged gutter system can cause interior damage as well. Any time water gets trapped between walls, crawlspaces, & basements, it gives opportunity for structural rot and increases the likelihood of mold developing.

Debris from leaves falling on your roof can clog your gutters.
Debris from leaves falling on your roof can clog your gutters.

Installing a good gutter protection/guard product is highly recommended, but beware before purchasing one of these types of products. Not all gutter protection/guard systems are created equal. Some products can cause more harm than good.

If you do not have an existing gutter protection product installed, cleaning your gutters out manually is a necessary part of homeownership.

DIY – Cleaning Gutters

Gather the tools you will need before you begin. Below is a list of suggested tools and materials you may need, but may not be all-inclusive for your needs:

  • Gloves – protect your hands. Gutters can have sharp edges
  • A ladder tall enough to reach your gutters. Common height needed is 20′.
  • Shoes with good traction tread
  • Long sleeve shirt – protect your arms from sharp edges
  • (Optional) Water hose with high pressure adapter connected to end.
  • a small garden shovel
  1. Begin by wearing protective clothing and gloves.
  2. Place your ladder on a level surface (very important). Test ladder to ensure that is does not rock or move from side to side or front to back.
  3. Climb ladder to appropriate height to reach gutters easily. (While cleaning gutters, it is important to remember not to “over-reach”.  You will be climbing up and down the ladder frequently to move the ladder and adjust your position for reaching. Over-reaching could lead to a dangerous fall.
  4. Using the small garden shovel or your hands, reach into gutter and scoop out the fallen leaves and debris.
  5. When you have cleared the section within your reach, climb down and move your ladder to the next section of guttering. Repeat steps 2-4.
  6. When you reach the end of your guttering, you will see the opening to your downspout. Clean out the downspout from the top as far as your hand will safely reach. (Remember not to over-reach and be aware of sharp edges.) If you have small gutters and downspouts (less than 5″) it is not recommended to reach into your downspout opening.
  7. If you are using the optional water hose with high pressure adapter connected, spray the hose directly into the downspout. This should “flush” out additional debris that you are unable to reach with your hands.

This can be a time-consuming process depending on the size of your home. Plan on spending an entire day completing this DIY project. If you are unsure that you will be able to safely do this project on your own, please contact a professional.

As a Home Improvement business, we currently have a gutter cleaning special for the month of October. For more information, please call 865-200-9627.