Spring has sprung (at least officially, though some parts of the country are still waiting for warm weather to kick in), and that means it’s time for spring cleaning. One outside task you shouldn’t forget is cleaning out gutters. Here’s what you need to know about it:
Why You Should Clean Out Gutters
Most homeowners probably know, in theory at least, why gutters and downspouts are so important to maintaining a home. They are designed to move water away from vulnerable areas of the home, such as the roof, siding and foundation, so that it flows harmlessly into drains. But in order to actually accomplish this task, gutters need to be clear of debris. That means getting out leaves, twigs and general muck. When you’re cleaning out gutters, you should also look out for signs of deterioration signaling you need gutter repair. The project may seem like a pain, but you’ll wish you’d done it if you end up with water damage down the road.
When to Clean Out Gutters
Ideally, you should clean out your gutters twice a year: once in the spring, and once in the fall. A spring cleaning will get out anything that may have plugged them up over the winter and get them ready for spring rains, while a cleaning in the autumn will address falling leaves (which is a problem particularly for homes with trees near the roofline). The springtime is also a good time to schedule a roof inspection in conjunction with cleaning out gutters — that way you’ll head off any other damage that could lead to water problems, and keep up your roof warranty if you have one.
How to Clean Out Gutters
There are gutter cleaning tools that can make this task much easier. Before you embark on it, however, you should assess both outside conditions and your own health. Do you have back problems or poor balance? Do you have a second or even third story on your house that you’ll need to reach? Is there no firm ground on which you can place a ladder? In these cases (or if you just don’t feel like doing it), then hiring a professional is the way to go. A handyman will probably be the most affordable way to get the job done right — and you can supervise from the comfort of solid ground.
Do you have anything to add regarding gutter cleaning or getting the outside of your home back in shape after winter? Join the discussion in the comments.