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15Jan 2014
Cleaning Out Your Gutters
Cleaning Out Your Gutters

Gutters are prone to being clogged by falling leaves, especially in autumn. It is suggested that they are cleaned out at least twice a year, if not more. Having a blocked gutter can cause a lot of problems as the water isn’t able to freely flow through a path. Since they are out of sight, most of the year they are out of mind too which is why you should have a designated time of the year to get them cleared out.

What problems are caused by a blocked gutter?
A blockage in a gutter stops water from flowing though. If the weather is especially bad, the water blocked and collected in the gutter will freeze and expand, causing a breakage in the material. If this happens, the gutter might even pull away from the bracket and wall. Having a lot of weight in one place puts a lot of pressure on the pipe and may also cause them to break or bend. Not only may it damage the gutter itself but any water overflowing out of the pipe will erode the side of your building on as it hits it on the way down and you’ll be left with very obvious water marks on your house.

How do I know my gutter is blocked?
There are a number of signs to look out for to know if a blockage has occurred. The most obvious one is actually being able to see leaves in the gutter or if the gutter overflows when it rains. If the gutter is coming away from the wall or has come away from the mounting in a certain part, it is likely that it is clogged and the weight of the water has been too much for it to handle. Also if there are impact marks from falling water, for example a hole in the ground below the gutter or erosion marks on the side of the building, then it is another sign of a blocked gutter.

How do I clean my gutter?
You’re going to need a sturdy ladder and gloves before you try to unclog anything. Note that gutters aren’t particularly strong so don’t rest your ladder on it or hold onto it and expect it to hold your body weight. To unclog the gutter, you simply pick out any leaves or debris and throw them into your compost or garden waste bin. If the downpipes are clogged, you can remove the blockage by running a large volume of water down it with a normal hosepipe. Once everything has been unblocked, you can use the hosepipe again to run water along the gutter to give it a quick clean and ensure there are no more blockages. Some people prefer to use a leaf blower to dislodge any debris however this may be difficult to lift up the ladder and stay balanced and only works if the leaves are dry. If you would rather have someone else do it though, there are plenty of companies around that will be more than happy to help you out.

If six months comes around too quickly and this job is just a chore for you, you can look into getting a gutter guard that prevents leaves from getting stuck and blocking your gutter. Either way, gutters need to be kept clean or you’ll end up with a lot more hassle when it breaks and you have to replace it.

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