Cleaning gutters can be a daunting and dreaded task, but as we'll see in this article, it's a must! So read on to know more:
How do I know if gutters need cleaning?
Maybe the easiest way to see if your gutters need cleaning, without going up onto the roof, of course, is by looking up on a rainy day! If you see that the rain is flowing from anywhere except the drainpipe. If so, gutter cleaning is needed. But let's look at the other telltale signs:
1. Gutter sagging: You need to clean your gutters, so they don't clog with leaves and other dirt. Once they are blocked, the water can no longer flow away. So for every litre of water stuck in the gutter, 1 kilo is added. On long gutters, that, plus other debris, can sum up to a lot of weight! That extra weight causes extra stress, which can eventually break the guttering and cause it to sag.
2. Stained walls: After a rainy day, if you see streaks of dirt or unusual stains under your gutters, then chances are that the water is running over, bringing dirt along with it, as it has nowhere else to go.
3. Larger than usual puddles: The whole point of gutters is to take the water away from your house. If you see big puddles around your home, it could be a sign that the gutters are no longer taking that water away!
4. Birds and other animals: What do birds use to make their nests? Twigs? Leaves? Exactly, and a dirty gutter is full of both of them! So if you see a lot of birds coming and going from your gutters, especially around nesting season, you can be assured that your gutters need cleaning! What about other animals? They might not make the same nests, but many rodents will love to bunk down in a leaf bed! And what do rodents attract? Snakes, another good reason to clean your gutters!
5. Roof garden: If you see that flowers and other plants are sprouting from your roof guttering, the chances are that it's time for a clean! Why? Rotten leaves and other natural debris like dust make good makeshift compost. Compost and water = the perfect environment for your new roof garden!
How often should gutters be cleaned?
This is a more difficult question to answer. What if I asked you how long is a piece of string? (Twice as long as half its length, but that's for a more philosophical article!) Generally speaking, gutters need to be cleaned twice a year, but certain factors, like if you have overhanging trees, will mean you need to clean your gutters a lot more often!
What happens if you don't clean your gutters?
It might seem like a trivial matter, but if left uncleaned, it can cause significant problems!
1. It can cause foundation damage. In addition, heavy rains falling on the same stop will soften the soil and even erode the soil surrounding your foundations. This will cause cracks to appear. In the colder areas where it freezes, those cracks can fill with water, which will cause much more problems!
2. Trapped water + wooden building are a recipe for disaster! The dampness can cause the wood to root, weakening the structure. It can also allow rodents and other vermin to enter your house.
3. Creepy crawlies. The same rotten, humid debris that can make you a not so lovely roof garden can also attract all kinds of insects. Of course, if the weather changes for the worse, they'll look for a dry place to hide out, which will probably be inside your house! But that's the least of your insect worries! Insects like termites and carpenter ants are also are attracted to the rotten leaves, and once they've finished the starter, they will probably move on to the main course, your lovely wooden walls, windows, etc.
4. Roof and basement leaks. The excess water has to go somewhere, and that might be your roof space or even your basement! But, of course, this can cause more problems: rotten roof timbers, black mould, water damage, flooding, short circuits and so forth.
How to clean your gutters?
First of all, you should know that gutter cleaning can be a dangerous task! For example, did you know that 4.5 Australians die every year in ladder-related accidents? And many more are seriously injured! So make sure your ladder is safely placed. If you want to read more about height safety systems, take a look at my other article: Beginners guide to height safety systems or, better yet, talk to a professional about ladder brackets.
Now I've warned you about being safe, let's get back to the subject at hand, gutter cleaning:
1. Wear the right clothes! Gutter cleaning is a dirty job! So it's best to wear a long-sleeved shirt, work trousers, and of course, gloves! You don't know what you're going to find up there.
2. You must also make sure that the ladder won't be leaning on the gutter, which could cause it to crack or push it out of place. And as we said before, make sure your ladder is safe and won't slip while you're working.
3. Slowly but surely, remove all debris from the gutter. Be careful not to use anything that might damage the gutter as you're cleaning it. You can buy specialised tools, but you can use an old rubber spatula from the kitchen.
• TIP: You might want to place something on the floor below where you will be working, making cleaning up more straightforward once you've clean the gutters.
4. Once all the solid and semi-solid material has been removed, rinse the gutters with water, preferably using a hosepipe. Doing this will also help you find any leaks.
5. Does anything need repairing? Sagging or loose gutters? Leaks? Maybe water damage in the roof itself?
6. Once everything is in tiptop working order, you'll need to clean all the mess you will have made on the floor below.
Is it better to call a professional?
Now that you've read the dangers and steps needed to clean your gutters, you probably know the answer to this question. There are multiple factors you need to think about before making a decision. First, do you feel up to the job? Second, do you have the right tools? A long enough ladder?
Before you decide, why not ask for a free quote? Once you hear the price, you might decide that the DIY path is not worth the trouble!
If you're in the area of Sydney, why not go directly to the best gutter cleaner? Sydney Gutter Clean has more than 20 years of experience with thousands of satisfied clients. Not only will they clean your gutters, but they will also make sure your gutters are as good as new! And once they've finished, they guarantee to leave no mess!
So visit the gutter cleaning Sydney website today! You'll see much more detailed information and can request a free consultation. You won't regret it!
Sydney Gutter Clean
Address: 287/495 Pacific Hwy, Crows Nest NSW 2065
Phone: (02) 8020 5777