Clearing your gutters

Thursday, 9 November 2017  |  Admin

Clearing your gutters

Maintaining the state of your gutters is far from the most glamorous of household tasks, however it plays an integral part in protecting your home. With the wet weather that we are accustomed to throughout the year, making sure that your gutters are clear is as important as taking out the recycling.

gutter empty

Clearing the gutter of leaves and debris can prevent serious damage to your house. The clogging of guttering will inevitably result in rainwater building up and overflowing. This can be quite dangerous if left unattended for long periods of time. Water can run down the side of your property seeping through walls, windows and doors. Wooden windows will rot, metal ones rust leaving you with an unwanted bill that could be easily avoided.

Regularly checking and cleaning will prevent any potential problems. It is possible to carry out this task yourself. However, professionals suggest that you should only do so if the roof is easily accessible. If you can`t work safely from a ladder it is far better to hire someone to do the job for you.

It is advisable to clear your gutters at least twice a year. However, if your roof is within reach of trees it may be necessary to do so more often. It is essential to make sure that your gutters are clean before winter arrives as any water pooling in gutters could freeze and turn into a heavy block of ice which of course poses a serious risk to both your safety and with the potential to crack the guttering as the ice expands.

The following are some tell-tale signs of a clogged gutter:-

Leaves and debris visible in the guttering
Gutters pulling away from the house
Signs of soil, damp or staining on the walls or dripping water from gutters and pipes
Clumps of moss on the patio or pathways gathered from the guttering and later dropped by birds in flight

If you choose to take on the task of gutter clearing yourself make sure that the ladder is an appropriate height for your roof. Read the Work at Height Regulations, see our link page,  before you start.  Do NOT hold on to the gutter or down spout for support as they are not designed to support your weight. Never stand on the top two rungs of the ladder, wear appropriate footwear and have someone at the foot of the ladder to ensure stability.

When removing any leaves, twigs or unwanted waste there are a few appropriate tools. A large spoon, a small garden trowel or a special gutter scoop as well as your own hands. However, protect your hands as you wade through the debris inside your gutter. Take care to avoid cutting yourself on any sharp nails, tiles or edges. Goggles are not a bad idea either.

If there is dry mud or dirt in the guttering your weapon of choice is a trowel. Wet then gently remove. You should also make sure you check the down spouts are clear. For this task a garden hose is appropriate. Once you've cleaned everything, use the garden hose to flush away any mess that remains. Always make sure that the gutter fittings and attachments have not come loose during the clearing.

Cleaning the gutters is important for long term maintenance of your home, reducing the chances of damage and the need to claim on your home insurance. If you do decide to tackle it yourself, always put your own safety and that of others at the top of your priority list.

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