SIMPLE STEPS FOR CLEAN GUTTERS
Regular exterior maintenance helps protect your greatest investment—your dream home, because it minimizes damage to your home and yard. Now that the leaves have begun falling in Southeast Michigan, it’s time to clean your gutters and downspouts.
Forgoing this task can cause detachment of the gutters away from your house and also damage the roof and fascia. Clogged gutters—especially during rainy days, can cause leaks because an obstructed water path forces the water to leak into the roof or overflow all the way down to your home’s foundation. This moisture causes mold growth and rot which ultimately affects the structural integrity of your home and can even negatively impact your family’s health.
Here are five steps to cleaning gutters and downspouts.
1. Safety first! Before you do anything, keep in mind that the Consumer Product Safety Commission reported that 90,000 people go to the emergency room each year for ladder-related injuries. You can avoid toppling your ladder by NEVER climbing above the second-to-last step. If the task of climbing to the top of a ladder and maintaining balance while cleaning gutters out worries you, consider having them cleaned by a professional. Depending on the size of your home, the cost of hiring a pro will range from $150-$250.
2. Suit up. Wear a long-sleeve shirt and rubber work gloves to protect your arms and hands from sharp objects. Grab a bucket and/or tarp so you have somewhere to toss the leaves and debris, which will protect your lawn.
3. Use a tall ladder. If you don’t have a very tall ladder, borrow one from a neighbor or consider investing in one. It is important that the ladder extend at least three feet above the gutter. If possible, choose one that has standoff stabilizers or ‘ladder horns’ to prevent any damage to the gutter. Once you have the right ladder, secure it on the ground. Note that pavement is a safer bet than your lawn or landscaping area.
4. Remove the clog. Use a small shovel or a garden trowel to scoop large debris and drop everything into a bucket hanging from your ladder or onto the tarp you placed on the ground. You will have to go up and down a few times, moving the ladder as you follow the complete gutter perimeter. After all of the gunk is removed, be sure to flush your gutters and downspoputs with a garden hose. This step is great not only for fully cleaning them, but for identifying any leaks that you will want to address before the cold weather arrives in Southeast Michigan.
5. Other considerations. You can lessen clogging by installing gutter covers in the form of mesh screens, clip-on grates, porous foam or a few other options. Often times, the cost of the covers can be greater than the actual gutterrs, so it is not a wise investment, especially since covers also require regular maintenance and cost between $6 and $8 per running foot installed.
Article by: Jennifer Elkow
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