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Gutter cleaning is important to the maintenance of your home and in the prevention of soil erosion. Gutters that aren't regularly cleaned may become clogged with leaves, causing run enough. This overflow will erode the soil away from your foundation, cause your gutters to pull away from your house, and possibly leak into your basement. Gutter cleaning should be performed at least twice a year, before and after the rainy seasons.
Consider your safety, first and foremost, when cleaning your gutters. Use a ladder stabilizer to safely position your ladder against the side of your house. Never brace your ladder against the gutter, as it can pull the gutter down, causing you to fall.
The first step in gutter cleaning is to remove all the loose branches, leaves, birds' nests, and other material that may have settled in your gutter. Wear gloves when performing this task, to prevent cuts and abrasions to your hands. Remove any screens you may have installed in your gutter and clean them thoroughly.
Spray down the gutters with a water hose to remove smaller debris. Stick the hose in the downspout to flush it out. If the water is backing up, something is clogging the downspout. Push the hose all the way down until it breaks through, then finish flushing it out. If the hose doesn't break through the clog, use a plumber's snake.
Gutter cleaning also involves visually inspecting the gutters. Move the ladder along the perimeter of the house to check that all the gutters are firmly attached. Loose gutter, or missing screws, may cause the gutter to pull away from the house. This can damage the windows, siding paint on the house. Replace any missing screws as necessary.
Verify that your downspouts extend at least 4 feet (121.9 cm) from the side of your house. If the downspouts are positioned any closer you risk soil erosion and possible damage to the foundation of the house. If they are positioned closer, you can purchase extenders from your local home supply store.
Gutter cleaning can also be performed by a professional service. If you are afraid of heights, or are just uncomfortable cleaning the gutters yourself, call a gutter cleaning agency. Schedule them to come out twice a year and they will clean, and visually inspect, your gutters. Gutter cleaning services are well worth the price when you consider the cost of new paint, windows or siding due to damaged or clogged gutters.