April Showers: A Guide to Gutter Cleaning

April showers bring May flowers. We all know that, but April showers can also bring gutter problems if you haven’t cleaned and maintained them. Leaky, clogged, or overflowing gutters can lead to a host of problems: damaged roofs and fascia boards, water behind siding, and water collecting at the foundation which can lead to damp basements and crawlspaces. Simple cleaning and maintenance of your home’s gutters twice a year can save you a lot of headaches down the road. Follow these tips to keep your gutters flowing smoothly and protecting your home from the rain.

What You’ll Need

  • Ladder
  • Water hose
  • Trowel
  • Gloves
  • Bucket

Dry Day

Clean your gutters on a dry day. Gutters already soaked with a recent rain are much more difficult to clean. Wait for a day or two after a rain, then break out the supplies and start cleaning.

Start with the Big Stuff

Begin the big clean out by removing the large material. Start near the downspout. Using your trowel and wearing your gloves, scoop out the leaves, twigs, and other debris. Dump it all into a bucket. Work your way to the opposite end.

Flush with a Hose

After you’ve cleared away the bigger material, wash away the smaller bits, dirt, and grime with your water hose. This time, start at the end farthest from the downspout and work towards it. A jet of water can certainly power away the stubborn bits, but don’t go overboard. Remember that you’re trying to prevent water problems, not cause them.

Not Draining? It’s the Downspout

If the gutter doesn’t drain quickly when you’re flushing it with the hose, you probably have a problem with your downspout. To clean the downspout, use a small nozzle adjusted to the strongest spray possible. Instead of spraying down, you’ll start at the bottom and work your way up to the clog. Feed the spraying hose into and up the downspout slowly but surely. For most clogs, this method will have your gutters draining freely in no time.

Still Not Working? Try a Snake

If the downspout’s clog is too tough for the water spray method, you might need to use a plumber’s snake. Again start at the bottom and work your way up to the clog.

Flush Again

To insure that the gutter is properly draining, give it one last flush from the far end of the gutter. If all the water drains away, you’re all set to move on to the next gutter.

Install New Gutters

If your gutters are simply too far gone for an easy clean, or if they have been damaged in a storm, contact us at Vanguard about installing a new gutter system on you

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