The value of your home relies greatly on its curbside appeal. Proper doors and windows are the two biggest contributors to easily upgrading its appearance, but there is another area that often goes overlooked: The gutters.
Gutters accumulate lots of dirt and debris meaning that they’re hard to clean, but since gutters are situated meters above the ground, it limits the area that can be comfortably and safely cleaned while standing in one spot. With the aid of easily purchased equipment and some planning ahead for cleaning, you and your gutters will be in great condition this spring.
Ladder safety check
In advance of the day you plan to clean your gutter, do a quick check to see that the ladder will serve your needs:
- After unfolding or propping up your ladder, make sure you can easily see over the top of the gutters. Even if you can reach over the ledge of the gutter, it’s important to be able to inspect them for other issues, such as rusting.
- Make sure each step of the ladder is sound.
- Is the ground that the ladder will be resting on stable? If not, you may have to wait until a dry spell where the ground and your ladder will sit on is solid.
If the ladder isn’t fit for the job, purchase another one or borrow one from a neighbour.
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Removing the leaves
There are a number of ways this can be done, including:
- using a shop-vac to suck out the leaves;
- aiming a leaf blower down the gutters to loosen the leaves;
- a gutter flusher which will rinse the leaves away;
- and manually with your hands.
Have a large garbage bag with you to collect the leaves as you go.
Rinsing the trough
After the leaves are gone, there will still be smaller debris and dirt in the gutters. For the quickest way to clean most of the remaining residue, use your garden hose to rinse the gutter. Ice has a way of causing damage, so after winter, you should:
- make sure that the valves controlling water are on;
- replace garden hoses that have cracks in them;
- and check for blockages made of ice or plant material.
The stronger the water pressure, the easier time you’ll have with dirt removal; luckily, most homes will have a PSI of 40-70, although it’s possible to use a narrower hose to improve the pressure.
Keep your cleaning equipment small and handy
It’s great to have gadgets to help you clean, but it also means that maneuvering the equipment along the edge of your home. If you prefer to use a bit of elbow grease, the minimum amount of equipment is a garbage bag, a gutter scoop, and gloves.