Looking after your own guttering is not as difficult as it sounds and could really help your home defend itself against rain deluges, particularly at this time of year. It should be routinely cleared twice a year in spring and autumn, but it pays to be more vigilant than that and clean it more frequently if circumstances dictate, for example, if your house is surrounded by overhanging trees.
You can call in a professional, but if your gutters are within reach and you own a sturdy ladder, then why not consider doing it yourself. Here’s how to do it – according to PlasticBuildingSupplies.com.
If you are not used to working up on a ladder regularly, then it is advisable and safer to have an assistant. They can stand and hold the bottom of the ladder, pass you things you may need, and empty your bucket.
Empty the gutters of leaves and debris either using your hands with gloves or a small rounded trowel, taking care not actually to damage the gutter as you scoop out any contents.
Never lean or rich from the ladder, dismount and move the ladder along even if you have to do this more frequently.
Collect the rubbish in a bucket that can be emptied by your assistant.
Wash out the gutters with a hosepipe and stiff brush, taking care not to overbalance the ladder or move around too much.
Water should run freely through the downpipe. If it doesn’t, then there may be a blockage. If you can’t reach the blockage because it is situated midway in the pipe, then a tool called a plumber’s auger may do the job for you. This is also sometimes called a drain snake. This is a flexible probe or cable which is fed towards the blockage using a hand crank. These are commonly used to unblock drains, toilets, and sink waste outlets but can work just as well with downpipes from external guttering.
Blocked gutters can cause all sorts of problems if not remedied and could end up damaging the fabric of your house and costing you money. If you do live in a location with a lot of trees, then consider leaf guards or gutter hedgehogs. A gutter hedgehog is a steel core covered in bristle which aims to deflect leaves whilst allowing rainwater to flow freely. Gutter or leaf guards do work but need to fit correctly to the size of guttering; otherwise, they will be ineffective.
When you have cleared the gutter, this is your opportunity to check for any leaks or areas which need repair. Keeping your guttering in good working order will pay dividends and prevent rainwater seeping into the home through the brickwork or around the window and protect the walls generally from overflowing rainwater goods blocked through debris and dirt. There is plenty of advice online, including short film clip demonstrations.