Gutter maintenance is often over looked and can cause damage to your property if left unchecked (see what the experts in the insurance industry say here). So that being said we’d like to pass on some great hints and tips to help those who feel comfortable taking on their on gutter maintenance. It can be risky working at height so stay safe over the winter months and follow these guide lines. For everyone who doesn’t have a head for heights your welcome to give the experts a Sheffield Gutter Service a call on 07842401763 or fill in our contact form
Practice Ladder Safety
- Always let someone know you will be using a ladder to work on your building’s roof or gutters.
- Use a safe and sturdy ladder, preferably one with a small shelf or hook strong enough to hold a bucket to collect gutter debris, and make sure to secure the bucket with a lanyard.
- A step ladder can be ideal for a single-story structure but an extension ladder is a must for a two-story or taller facility preferably one with a wide base, especially if you don’t have anyone to foot the base.
- When opening up a step ladder, make sure the extension-hinge arms are fully extended and locked in place.
- Avoid older wooden ladders, they are not as strong and can suffer rot if not stored correctly.
- If your ladder is fastened together with screws and bolts, make sure all parts are tightened before using them.
- Aluminium ladders are much safer, stronger and lighter so ideal if you have to move them a number of times or you are working on your own
- Inspect the ladder for defects, dents or loose parts before climbing as this can weaken them, you don’t want them failing while your 2 storeys up.
Use A Garden Hose
- Use a garden hose with a pistol-grip trigger spray nozzle.
- This type of spray nozzle allows you to adjust the water pressure with the use of just one hand.
- A pistol-grip trigger spray nozzle can be easily hung over the front edge of the gutter while moving the ladder or while using a gutter scoop.
- ideal for testing gutter drainage and saves climbing up a ladder with a weighty bucket of water (never recommended).
Use a trowel or scoop
- For those of you that cant afford expensive gutter cleaning equipment used by the professionals. A trowel can be used to scooped out the leaf and soil debris preferably in to the bucket you have hooked on the your ladders.
- Scraping the bottom of a steel gutter can introduce areas to rust, and if the bottom of the gutter is already rusting, the rusting process could speed up.
- Be aware of people below where you are working as falling debris can cause severe injuries.
Protect Your Hands
- Gloves can help protect hands against dirty, rotting leaf debris that often contains bird, pigeon and squirrel droppings that are ridden with bacteria.
- Gloves can also prevent painful cuts from the torn metal shards of an old, ragged gutter.
- Rubber contractors gloves offer some of the best protection and are can be purchase cheaply
Protect Your Eyes
Eye protection is a must because one never knows what might fly out of the downspout when cleaning gutters. People have experienced rats, birds, frogs, wasps and bees leaving at high speeds once they start removing a clog, and the last thing they want to have happen is an eye injury.
Clean Off The Roof
Rake or power wash all debris off the roof first. Otherwise, the next rain will wash all the debris down into the clean gutter, clogging it up again. Also, debris left on the roof can lead to water damming up in valleys and around the chimney.
Consider Rubber Shoes
If walking on the roof is necessary to perform gutter cleaning, it is good to use rubber-soled shoes. Rubber soles tend to adhere best and prevent slip-and-fall incidents. Rooftops tend to be moist in the morning, so it is best to walk on the roof after the sun is well up in the sky and has dried up all the moisture. Late mornings or early afternoons are the best times to walk on a roof.
Unclog The Downspouts
Make sure the downspouts are clear. After all the gutters are cleaned out, run the water hose down the downspout at full pressure. If the water backs up out of the top, a clog is present. Normally, it can be unclogged by tapping on the side of the downspout. But, if that doesn’t work, the downspout and back need to be removed, and it should be flushed from the bottom. If a clog is present and the downspout is connected to an underground drain, it is best to disconnect the bottom of the downspout from the underground drain. Otherwise, the clog may move to the underground drain.
Schedule Semi-annual Cleanings
Make sure your gutters are cleaned at least twice a year: Once in the fall and again in the spring. One main reason for cleaning out gutters is to eliminate the possibility of water damage from rainwater runoff due to a clogged gutter. Another reason is to reduce the possibility of rust corrosion.Even though it may not rain during the summer, if there is debris in the steel gutters, the rusting process can speed up. It’s difficult for rust to speed up with clean gutters. The faster the rusting process, the sooner new gutters will be needed.
Be Mindful Of Electrical and Aerial cables
When cleaning gutters around a electrical cable that drops from above to the roof of a building (mainly in detached garages), conduct a visual inspection of the electrical cable where it connects to the roof. This is to ensure that the protective wire insulation hasn’t rubbed off through years of wear-and-tear by weather and nearby trees. If the cable appears to have damage, do not attempt to repair it; instead, call a licensed professional electrical contractor to fix it. If it’s raining and there is an electrical wire problem, do not attempt to clean out the gutters until the wires are fixed; water is a dangerous conductor of electricity. Whether it’s raining or not, it would be a good idea to have the electrical wiring repaired before cleaning out your gutters.
Aerial cables are often run up across the roof and along the gutters. they cause the gutters to catch debris and can eventually lead to blockage. if possible clip them out of the way below or on the roof tile lips.
Invest In Gutter Guards
Using a quality gutter guard can eliminate the need for cleaning out gutters. Consider carefully the manufacturer’s claims before purchasing a gutter protection system that keeps out leaves and pine needles because many promises are made that can’t be delivered. We offer great prices on fitting these as they can be tricky for the novice to install of ladders due to their length and design.
Eight Gutter Cleaning Tips
- Let someone know you are cleaning your gutters
- Use a safe and secure ladder
- Rake leaves and other debris off the rooftop first
- Wear rubber-soled shoes when walking on the rooftop
- Use a plastic gutter scooping tool
- Wear gloves and proper eye protection
- Unclog downspouts
- Watch out for hazardous electrical cables
- If your uncomfortable with any aspect call the experts at Sheffield Gutter Services
- Happy and Safe Cleaning