Posted by Manny DeMelo on April 25th, 2016

Cleaning Out Your EavestroughsWith spring in the air, it’s time to start thinking about a post-winter cleanup around your home. Likely near the top of your list will be cleaning out your eavestroughs to make sure they’re ready to handle springtime rain and runoff.

Check out these 5 tips to help you clean your eavestroughs efficiently and safely:

1.     Choose the Right Ladder

When picking the ladder you’ll use to clean your eavestroughs, be careful you:

  • Find a ladder that’s the right height. You should be able to comfortably reach your eavestroughs without stretching.
  • Ensure it’s not damaged. Look for defects or loose parts, tighten screws and bolts, and fully extend all hinge arms.
  • Make sure it’s properly secured to limit movement before you start climbing.

Remember the “three point rule” while you’re climbing. As often as possible, keep both legs and a hand on the ladder to stay balanced and safe. Make sure you have someone on hand to hold and stabilize the ladder or, at the very least, make sure someone knows you’re using it.

2.     Wear Protective Clothing

  • Gloves: Wearing gloves will protect your hands from rotting leaf debris, which can contain animal droppings and bacteria, and injuries caused by protruding metal pieces. If they’re handy, thick suede gloves are best for the job. Cotton gloves will soak up too much liquid, leather gloves can inhibit movement, and rubber gloves (or thin leather gloves) are prone to ripping.
  • Eyewear: Make sure you wear protective eyewear. Especially when checking downspouts, you never know what will come rushing down – whether birds, bees, mud, or another unpleasant surprise.

Remember to put your safety first. If you have concerns about performing any maintenance or repairs to your roof, contact a qualified home contractor who can get the job done safely.

3.     Remove Debris from Your Eavestroughs

Once you’re up there, begin by removing debris like leaves, twigs, moss, and dirt. You can use a variety of implements to clean your eavestroughs, ranging from simple garden trowels to specially designed scoops.

Some types of tools let you attach extension polls, making cleaning easier and reducing the number of times you’ll need to move your ladder.

When it comes to disposing debris, make sure you separate biodegradable and non-biodegradable materials. Most of what comes out of your eavestroughs will likely be compostable, giving you good fertilizer for your garden, though rogue pieces of plastic and other non-biodegradable items might sneak in.

4.     Ensure Downspouts Aren’t Blocked

To make sure downspouts are clear, run a garden hose down them to make sure water is flowing and draining properly. If the water backs up in your eavestrough, you have a clog.

To clear clogged downspouts, you can try:

  • Forcing water up the downspout to power away the obstruction
  • Reaching the clog with a coat-hanger, provided it’s close
  • Using a plumber’s snake to remove the blockage

It’s important to make sure your downspouts are positioned properly and are not draining too close to your foundation. They should extend several feet away from your house otherwise water can flow towards and into your basement, causing damage to your home’s foundation.

5.     Repair Damage to Your Eavestroughs

As you’re cleaning your eavestroughs, keep an eye out for any damage including:

  • Leaks and holes
  • Eavestroughs that are sagging and pulling away from your home
  • Splitting seams

If you come across flaws, make sure you work an experienced home contractor to get your eavestroughs fixed and ensure they continue to perform their best all year long.

At Quality Exteriors, we are your choice for effective gutter protection and rainware eavestroughs. Contact us today to schedule a free in-home estimate!

Serving homeowners in Niagara, St. Catharines, Oakville, and Burlington. 

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Manny DeMelo