Here in Central Florida, we’re in the midst of our summer storm season—and that means taking special measures to protect our homes and landscaping that we work so hard on! One of the biggest spots to watch out for is the gutter, since a damaged or debris-clogged gutter can send large amounts of water down fast and cause problems for your home’s foundation, yard or garden—these can include an over saturated garden or water damage to your patio or deck.
Luckily, these problems can be solved with a quick and typically cost-free fix—in most cases, a simple cleaning is all your gutter will need to function like it’s supposed to! Here are five simple steps to follow before and during your cleaning:
1. Get yourself prepared. There are a few preliminary things to consider before jumping into your gutter cleaning project—first off, dress for the job and stay comfortable! Wear gloves and, if you prefer, a long-sleeved shirt to avoid getting gutter gunk and debris on your hands or arms. If your schedule allows for it, try cleaning your gutter in the morning or early evening, when you can avoid a sunburn or high humidity.
2. Get into a safe and comfortable position on your ladder. You may want to use a standoff stabilizer with your ladder to give your ladder a safe place to rest without damaging your gutter or roof—by using a stabilizer, you can also avoid leaning your own body over a messy gutter.
3. Set aside a tarp or towel on the ground where you can toss any debris you may find.
4. Using a gutter scoop or small, handheld shovel, begin scooping out your gutter! You may find tree leaves, dirt and other debris, especially where the downspout (vertical leg of the gutter) joins with the gutter system itself. Pay special attention to this area and to the very end of the downspout, where water should be draining.
5. Once you’ve cleared out clogs and any lingering debris, use your hose to flush out the gutter and ensure that everything is working as it should be. This will tell you if you missed a spot while cleaning—it will also show you any leaks or structural problems. Sometimes repairing the gutter is necessary, but don’t resort to that before you’ve covered all your bases and made sure the gutter is as clean as possible!
6. Once you’ve finally put in the labor and attention to cleaning your gutter, take a break and relax! You will notice that your gutter will work much better after a good cleaning. To keep it functioning, you’ll want to clean your gutter semi regularly—at least once a year, and more frequently if your roof is covered with trees or after you encounter a big storm… as we often do in Florida! By following these simple steps whenever your gutter needs a cleaning, you can get the job done quickly and easily.