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8 Great Gutter Cleaning Tips for Keeping Safe and Saving Time

gutter

We know that gutter cleaning is a job that is not on the top of the list of things you would like to do on the weekend. But you don’t want to discover that it’s going to bucket down in a couple of days’ time. Not when you know there’s no time to clean gutters that are chock full of leaves.

Gutter Cleaning Tips

No one likes gutter cleaning, but you have to face the job. Gutters must be cleaned regularly so that you’re not caught out by the first downpour and end up with water cascading where it shouldn’t.  Often people just get up on a ladder with a bucket and start dragging the leaves out by hand. This isn’t the safest and most sensible way to do the job. The following gutter cleaning tips will help you get the job done right.

1. Wear Gloves

Our first tip is that you should wear gloves. Leaves accumulate under the metal retaining straps and you are bound to cut your hands on the sharp edges while fishing them out. The same applies to the overhang of the tiles or metal roofing sheets. Gutter cleaning barehanded is not a good idea.

gloves
Wear gloves to protect your hands when cleaning gutters

2. Use a Light Ladder

Because your gutter cleaning job has to be done regularly, investing in a good light weight aluminium ladder is a decision you will not regret. The style of ladder to use depends on the height of your roof gutter. The nature of cleaning gutters requires that you shift the ladder frequently, so the easier this is to do, the better.

Going up and down a ladder and constantly repositioning it so that is stable is a tried and tested method of gutter cleaning. The problem with it is that it’s a labour intensive and frankly dangerous way to go about cleaning your gutters. To lessen the number of moves and to keep from constantly clambering up and down you start to stretch for the maximum distance. That is an incredibly dangerous thing to do on a ladder. Once you start to slip you are facing a serious fall. It’s probably the most hazardous household chore there is.

ladder
A light weight aluminium ladder is best

3. Use Gutter Cleaning Services

Because it is so hazardous cleaning your gutter we recommend you use our gutter cleaning services and get someone in to clean gutters for you. It’s definitely the best thing to do if you’ve reached a certain age and your balance is not what it used to be. The other circumstance where we strongly recommend getting in a professional for cleaning a gutter is if you have a second storey. Two storey homes require proper safety equipment and not simply an extendable ladder propped against the building. That said, however, there is another way to clear your gutters that isn’t as tiring and time-consuming.

4. Wear a Safety Harness

For this gutter cleaning method you will need slightly better equipment than a bucket and gloves. What you need is a decent leaf blower and a safety harness. The leaf blower has to be either battery operated or petrol driven because any electrical cords are just too much of a hazard on the roof. They snag and put you off balance. Now, this method involves standing on the roof. We do not recommend standing or walking on a roof without wearing a safety harness. If you fall it is a long way down. Serious injury and even death are real possibilities. But if you are going to clean gutters regularly and don’t want to pay for a gutter cleaning service it is worth your while to invest in a safety harness and install a decent tethering point. Considering that you need to clean the gutters every 6 months or so, any money you spend on a harness can be recouped. So, wear a harness if you are going to try this on your next cleaning job.

safety harness
Always wear a safety harness on a roof

5. Blow Me Down

A powerful leaf blower is essential for gutter cleaning – you need one that can blast everything out of the gutter. All you need to do (after attaching your safety harness) is to walk on the roof and blow off any rubbish, particularly anything trapped in the valleys. Then you can walk around the edge of the roof (this is easier on some roofs and clearly not possibly on steeply sloped roofs) blowing the leaves out of the gutters. It does a great job of gutter cleaning – better than your hands and a brush. You will find yourself chasing down the very last gumnut just to be sure everything is clear.

leaf blower
A powerful cordless leaf blower does the job

6. Don’t Forget to Clean Downpipes

Once everything is clear, you can check whether the downpipes are blocked by using a hose. The downpipe outlet is a common blockage point where debris gathers and subsequently traps more and more rubbish.  This quite frequently happens inside the down pipe at the bends. The blockage can be awkward to dislodge and blasting it down into the stormwater drain can simply end up blocking the drain instead. So, there are occasions where it is necessary to remove the downpipe to clear it. That is, of course, easier said than done and you might want to use our gutter cleaning service which includes cleaning downpipes.

7. Gutter Fillers

Once you have finished gutter cleaning you should think about what might make the job easier. Gum trees that shed a lot of debris all year can make gutter cleaning difficult. Really big trees adjacent to your property can fill gutters back up in only a couple of weeks. You don’t want a gutter clean every fortnight. There are only two things that can help in these circumstances. The most drastic and expensive is the removal of the trees. There are downsides to this because you could lose shading and amenity. But it’s often the case that the trees are not yours to cut down. That’s when you install gutter guard to keep the worst of the litter out of the gutter.

gum trees

8. Gutter Guard Installation

However, gutter guard is not a set-and-forget failsafe solution. Gum leaves have a remarkable capacity to lodge themselves in the roof valleys as well as the gutter. These valleys, even more than the actual gutter, must be kept clear. Water backed up behind a dam of leaves and gum nuts in your roof valley has nowhere to go except inside your roof space. That’s the last thing you want. The other problem with gutter guard is that it can’t exclude everything. Caps of gumnuts can find their way in and because everything is screwed down with properly installed gutter guard, it isn’t easy for you to get in and clear stuff out. As for the plastic mesh versions of gutter guard, expect the gum tree to win every time and fill your gutter despite the barrier.

Gutter Cleaning

Along with death and taxes, one of the certainties in life is gutter cleaning. As ladder work gets more difficult as you get older, the best option is getting someone else to do the gutters. Jim’s Roofing is one of those options. We clear gutters and can make sure the whole stormwater system is working properly to boot.  But if you’re still sufficiently spry to get on the roof with a harness, a good blast with a decent leaf blower will save you a couple of hours and have the job done in no time.  It will be safer than reaching on a ladder.