Many homeowners do not realize that having a functioning gutter system can prevent future costly problems from happening. Gutters can protect your home from home flooding, a damaged foundation, growth of mosquitoes, mold formation, erosion, staining to the house’s exterior, paint damage, rusting, and damage to the landscaping. The purpose of a gutter system is to direct the falling rain or melted snow off the roof roof and away from the foundation or the sides of the house. The gutters help to guide the excess water at least ten feet away from the home’s structure. However, gutters need to be checked at least twice a year to make sure that they are not clogged, leaking, or damaged. Many times the gutters can have buildup of dirt, leaves, and other debris. It is always best to hire a professional to clean your gutters. But, here are some helpful ways to inspect and clean your gutter system.

First, scoop out and throw away all of the leaves and major debris. To get the smaller debris, hose your gutters down and check for any leaks as the water is running down your system. If there is blockage in the downspout, clear the materials and let the water run through freely. If there is stubborn debris still attached to the downspout after you hosed it down, break apart the pieces with a plumber’s snake. Look for areas where the water moves slowly down the gutter system. This means that these areas lack a big enough slope and require the use of spike or hangers to create more of an extreme slant towards the downspout. Overtime, the spikes and hangers may need to be replaced because they can get loose or break. If there is a leak in your gutters, you have to remove the old sealant and apply a new one. Holes and gaps in your gutters require more attention and extensive repairs or possibly full replacements of that area. Another tip to use when cleaning or inspecting your gutter is to wait to until your gutters are completely dry before you decide to wash or investigate. Wet gutters or ones right after rainstorms tend to leave soggy debris making the cleaning and checking process much more difficult.

It is important to be aware of the safety precautions when cleaning out your gutters. You should always remember to wear protective gear for your hands, eyes, and feet with gloves, goggles, and rubber-soled shoes. Rubber-soled shoes help prevent slip-and-falling accidents from happening. Having a sturdy ladder is also crucial to the gutter cleaning process. It is highly recommended that you get either a fiberglass or aluminum ladder-- anything but wood because it tends to wobble and is difficult to balance on. Make sure your ladder has no dents or cracks and has all of its bolts and screw tightly in place before attempting to climb. Lastly, it is smart to be aware of your surroundings especially if there are power lines nearby. If there seems to be an electrical wiring problem, call the professionals out to fix the problem first, before you start to clean your gutters. You do not want to run the risk of getting seriously injured or electrocuted.