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Cleaning Rain Gutters

During the rainy season gutters provide a channel for the rainwater to be directed away from the house. Gutters provide protection by keeping water away from siding, windows, doors, and most important the foundation & basement areas.

To do this gutters and downspouts need to free of leaves, debris and sand particulate from the roof, if not drain outlets will dam up and the rain water will pool up and overflow over the sides of the gutter, resulting in those unsightly dirt lines on the face of the gutter. Another common concern is over the years gutters can become so full of rainwater that the nail spikes pull away from the rafters, and sometimes be removed from the rafters.

You can hire a gutter company, or handyman to clean your gutters, by doing this yourself you can save $40 to $100. It’s a good idea to clean gutters twice a year especially if you live in area with trees surrounding your home or are directly beneath them, also those areas where storms are frequent.

Only take this task on if you know you can safely work from the ladder or on the roof. If your home is a two story or has a pitch greater than 5 in 12 or 22.62 degrees. Another rule is that if it looks questionable consult a local professional.

Always choose a sturdy ladder, never stand on the last step always place the ladder on a level ground, if you’re going to use and extension ladder always make sure the ladder is on level ground as it could slide on the gutter if applied to uneven ground. If damaging the gutter is a concern you can tape an old towel to where the ladder rests on the gutter.

Before you head up on the roof another tip is too place an old bath towel, black bag with a few holes at the bottom, or an old tube sock works well to, this method will catch any leftover debris when spraying gutters out.

Choosing to clean from the rooftop takes special consideration such as roof pitch, weather conditions, and roof shingle condition. Wear shoes with a good rubber sole so you do not slide on the roof, as you will be working right near the edge of the roof. When placing an extension ladder against the gutter to get on the roof always extend the ladder 3 feet beyond the roof eave. (Never work on a roof when icy, wet or windy conditions). If you’re gutters have water in them the best method is to wear a nitrile glove this glove works well as it’s thin yet durable. Clean all leaves and debris out a section at a time using a 5 gallon bucket to place debris in. Sand from the shingles is common in gutters, follow up with a garden hose with a jet nozzle, or a twist nozzle type go back and spray out that section of gutter. (Use CAUTION with the hose it will be a tripping hazard) a good tip is too loop it around a roof vent of pipe flashing. Proceed till all gutters are clean.

The best method to cleaning gutters is to tackle this task in the dry season or right after the leaves drop and before the rain starts using an electric or gas powered blower carefully work your way around the perimeter of the home. (Always wear eye and face protection along with a dust mask). If using an electric blower follow same precautions as above. (Watch out for overhead Power Lines and Cables).

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