4 tips for cleaning gutters

Cleaning your gutter is important in spring, to clear winter debris, and after the last autumn leaves have fallen. Here are tips to get organized in cleaning your gutter.

4 tips for cleaning gutters

1. Using a pull-up bucket

  • Use a pull-up bucket. Attach one end of a long rope and an S-hook to the handle of an empty bucket (you can make the hook by bending a wire coat hanger), and put work gloves, a trowel, and a whisk broom into the bucket.
  • Starting near the downspout, climb a sturdy ladder to the gutter and pull up the bucket with the rope and hook it over a rung of the ladder.

2. Start from the bottom

  • Work from low end to high. Put on work gloves. Sweep all debris toward the higher end of the gutter. Scoop up the debris with the trowel and dump it into the bucket.
  • Clean only as far as you can reach comfortably, then move the ladder and do the next section — until you finish at the high end of the gutter.

3. Hosing out problems

  • Use a hose to pinpoint problems. Once the debris is all out, use a garden hose to flush the gutter from the high end. It also lets you check for leaks and other damage.
  • If you see standing pools of water, the gutter is sagging and needs realignment.
  • If the water won't go down at all, the downspout is clogged.

4. Clearing a clog from the bottom up

  • The fast way to clear a clog in a downspout is with a garden hose. And surprisingly it's best to do it from the bottom up.
  • Wrap rags around the nozzle of a hose and wedge it into the bottom of the downspout. (You may have to remove a section to gain access.) Turn on the water full-force. If that doesn't blast the debris out, use a plumber's snake, working from the bottom up.
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