Efficiently Clean Your Rain Gutter

Autumn-048A rain gutter is an often overlooked but very important aspect of your home’s overall upkeep.  Clean gutters can protect your siding and guard your lawn or garden from a downpour.  If your gutter isn’t kept up correctly, however, a bad storm can end up causing $10,000 or more in damage to your foundation.  To head off an extensive and costly repair in the future, make sure your gutter is consistently cleared of leaves, dirt, and debris.

Plan to clean gutters a minimum of one time per year.  If you have trees that hang over your roof, a cleaning at least twice a year is a good rule of thumb for your household.  If you live in an area that experiences large storms with residual damage, you may need to get into the habit of cleaning after each bad storm.

To clean gutters on your own, follow these tips:

  • Purchase a sturdy ladder with stabilizers (“ladder horns”) that ensure the ladder doesn’t scrape or damage the gutter.
  • Prepare by wearing rubber gloves and long sleeves.
  • Lay down a tarp on the land below so that, as you scoop out and remove dirt and grime, you don’t damage your plants or lawn.
  • Use a gutter scoop, preferably plastic, that is small enough to get into the grooves.  Remove all of the debris and dirt that you can.
  • Rinse the gutters thoroughly with plenty of water from a long-reaching hose.  Check for any leaks in the structure.
If you’d prefer to have your gutter professionally cleaned, it can cost you anywhere from $50 to $250 per cleaning.  Strike a balance by springing for a very thorough professional clean once a year.
To prevent excess wear and tear, consider installing a mesh screen, grate, or foam with pores to act as a gutter cover.  While any of these materials are an inexpensive way to prolong the life of your gutter, they do require quick cleanings to make sure they stay clear.
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