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Tips for cleaning your home’s gutters this fall

Posted by Scott Stueber, CPCU, CISR, AAI on Sep 21, 2021 9:11:06 AM

Gutter cleaning tipsDepending on the number of trees around your home, fallen leaves can make cleaning your gutters a dreaded task. Slimy, dirty, compacted leaves can be gross and tough to remove. 

However, to keep your home in good condition and to prevent damage, there are several reasons to clean your gutters.

1. Prevent interior damage.

At times, water is tricky. It can find its way into our homes without leaving a trace. However, eventually with time, you’ll start to notice the damage it’s causing. If there’s a buildup of leaves and other debris in your gutters, water can pool and find its way into your ceiling. A water stain may be the first indication you have a problem. Left unaddressed, the water can cause wall rot and mold.

2. Avoid foundation problems.

Proper drainage around your home is important. A properly working gutter system helps keep water from entering your home and helps maintain your foundation. Water that overflows from your gutter can cause pooling which can lead to problems. Especially during spring and fall when temperatures fluctuate, and water expands and contracts. My parents recently had their foundation repaired after many years of pooling water and poor drainage.

3. Deter pests and rodents.

With season changes, pests are always on the lookout for a nice home. A gutter clogged with leaves can be a great place for rats, mice, and birds. If there’s pooling water, mosquitos will love it during the summer months. Rodent infestations can cause significant damage to your home. And the damaged caused may not be covered by insurance.  

4. Increase your roof life.

Your roof has a tough job. It protects your family from whatever Mother Nature decides to unleash. Don’t add to an already difficult job by having clogged gutters. If water isn’t draining properly, it can damage your roof leading to repairs inside and outside your home.

5. Help minimize the formation of ice dams.

An ice dam is a ridge of ice that usually forms at the edge of a roof and prevents melting snow (water) from draining off the roof. A clogged gutter can accelerate ice dam formation during the winter months. The water that backs up behind the dam can leak into a home causing damage to walls, ceilings, and insulation.     

Cleaning tips

1. Stabilize your ladder.

We’ve all been there before, climbing onto a ladder that’s not properly stabilized because the job is only going to take a minute. However, for this job, it’s important to make sure you’re on solid ground. Consider asking for help. 

2. Check out the scope of the job.

Once your ladder is secure, look at your gutters. Maybe you’ll be pleasantly surprised, and the job won’t be that bad. If that’s not the case, at least you’ll be able to gather the appropriate tools.

3. Lay down a tarp.

A tarp can help protect your landscaping from falling tools, powerful pressure washer streams, and fallen gutter debris.

4. Dress for success.

No matter what job you’re performing, it’s important to dress properly. For this job, closed-toe shoes, gloves, a long-sleeved shirt, jeans, and eye protection should do the trick.

5. Be cautious when using a pressure washer.

If not used properly, pressure washers can be dangerous. For pressure washer safety tips, click here

If your roof is too high or you just don’t have the right tools for the job, consider calling a professional. They can save you time and headaches. Just be sure they’re reputable by inquiring with the Better Business Bureau and reading online reviews.

Do you have any suggestions or information you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you.  Please share them in the box below.

Topics: Home Safety, Yard Safety

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