It’s that time of the year again! The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and those heavy summer storms are coming. You probably haven’t touched your gutter in several months, but with the April showers and windy spring, it’s getting to be about time to climb up to the roof and scrape those pipes out.

For some of our readers, this will be their first time cleaning out their own gutters without their Dad telling them to — congrats! Welcome to this important milestone of homeownership! For others this might be your billionth time cleaning out the rain gutters and the excitement has thoroughly washed off. Either way, we hope you learn something from this how-to article of all the best ways to prepare your roof ruffles for our harsh southern summer rains.

Check The Weather

It’s best to clean your gutters once it’s been dry for a couple of days. This means all the gunk and earthy stuff caught in the pipes won’t be wet or compacted and clumped together. It will be easier to clean out the gutter gook the drier that it is.

Be Prepared

Here’s a list of all the things you’re going to want in order to clean out your gutters as quickly and cleanly as possible.

  • Trowel
  • Ladder
  • Plastic buckets
  • Two wire hooks
  • Nozzle
  • Garden hose
  • Gutter attachment (optional)
  • Safety glasses
  • Work gloves
  • Latex gloves (make sure you’re not allergic to latex!)
  • Gutter sealant
  • Drill with bits
  • Touch up paint

Be Careful

Considering the height of your gutters, all this work will be done on a ladder. Please do not work on the ladder if you have a fear of heights, vertigo, disruptive medical conditions, or are over the age of 50. Instead, call a professional (like us!) and save yourself any possible injuries and medical expenses.

However, if you do feel comfortable working on the ladder please be sure all feet of the ladder are secure and solid on flat ground and someone is at the bottom holding the ladder. Never climb above the second step from the top and please do NOT move the ladder while you are still on it. We don’t want to hear about any Clark Griswold ladder experiences from our clients!

Cleaning Up

Okay! You’re ready! Put on your gloves, set up your ladder, and get climbing. After carrying your tools up to the top of the ladder with you in the plastic buckets, feel free to hang them off the edge of the top of the ladder with the wire hooks. Starting at the downspout, clear out any large junk you see like tree branch chunks, bird nests, or frisbees. Then using your hands or the trowel, scoop out the smaller twigs and leaves until the entire gutter is clear.

There may be stagnant water under all the debris. Wearing latex gloves under your work gloves keep you hands from getting wet from the liquid sludge. Once you’ve cleaned out the detritus, stand at the other end of the downspout and shoot water from the hose down the length of the gutter to clean out everything else.

Downspout Drain

Great job on the rain gutters! But uh oh, you notice the water isn’t draining properly. You probably have a clog in your downspout. Climb down the ladder and starting from the bottom of the drainpipe, unscrew the bottom part. Send the hose up the bottom of the downspout and try to flush out the clog from the other direction. If that doesn’t work or you notice there is still standing water in the gutters, it’s time to call the professionals.

Remember the longer you put off cleaning your gutter, the harder the job will be when you do get around to it. Additionally if your rain gutters aren’t functioning properly, you risk the water seeping into the foundation of your home, your basement, or your crawlspace. Then that problem becomes much more involved than just cleaning out the gutters in the first place.

Are you totally disgusted by the idea of touching dead tree leaves and other detritus in the gutter? Or have you put off cleaning for too long and now your downspout is clogged? It happens to the best of us. Your best next step would be to contact us and we’ll come inspect your rain gutters and downspout drain and get your gutters back into working condition!