Whether you live in a ranch or two-story home, you should invest the necessary time and labor into maintaining your gutters. Many homeowners neglect their gutters, resulting in poor runoff that damages their home’s foundation and roof. To avoid such headache, follow these steps to clean and maintain your gutters throughout the year.
Trim Overhanging Tree Branches
Inspect your home’s landscape on a regular basis while looking for tree branches that overhang the roof. When a tree’s branches extend over your roof, you may discover an excessive amount of leaves clogging your gutters. Therefore, it’s recommended that you trim any problematic tree branches. You can typically trim small branches using a pair of pruning shears. For larger branches, you may need a chainsaw or special branch-removal tool. Alternatively, you can contact a professional tree removal company for assistance. Either way, you should trim overhanging branches to encourage cleaner gutters.
Position Splash Blocks Correctly
The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture explains that splash blocks are an effective solution to prevent soil erosion around the base of your downspouts. Without them, rainwater will flow from your gutters directly to the ground around your home’s foundation. Over time, this may cause the soil to erode. It’s important that you position your splash blocks in the right direction to protect against soil erosion. Splash blocks should be placed directly under the downspouts, with the open end closest to the downspouts.
Clean Protective Screens
Installing a mesh screen over the top of your downspouts is a great way to protect them from debris. It allows water to flow through the gutters while keeping out leaves, sticks, bugs and other debris. If your downspouts have a protective screen such as this, though, you should clean them. When left unchecked, these screens will continue to accumulate debris until water can no longer flow through them. The only way to fix this problem is to clean or remove the screens, the former or which is preferred. While wearing a pair of gloves, remove any debris stuck to the protective screens.
Scoop Out Debris
Perhaps the most important step in maintaining your gutters is to scoop out debris at least once every six months. After accessing your roof, scoop out the leaves, pine straw, branches and other debris that’s stuck inside the gutters. You can either use your hands or a special gutter scooping tool. Most home improvement stores sell these plastic tools for as little as $5. Although there are different types, they typically feature a shovel-like design with a plastic construction and handle.
Flush With Water
According to Forbes, homeowners should make sure their gutters allow for proper drainage. To do this, you should flush your gutters with a garden hose. Of course, this must done at the top of the downspouts for maximum effectiveness. After you’ve cleaned your gutters, blast the garden hose through them to flush out any lingering debris. If the water isn’t flowing, your gutters could be clogged.
Inspect for Damage
Finally, inspect your gutters and downspouts for damage. It’s not uncommon for aluminum gutters to corrode over time, leaving behind holes through which water can escape. If you discover signs of corrosion, deformed hangers or other forms of damage, repair or replace the affected gutters to ensure proper runoff. Fixing a corroded gutter segment now can save you thousands of dollars on roof and home repairs later.
Gutter maintenance isn’t as difficult as it sounds. Most homeowners can do it themselves using just a few basic tools. If this sounds too difficult or dangerous, though, homeowners should consider hiring a professional gutter cleaning company.