Avoid costly damages by cleaning your gutters

Avoid costly damages by cleaning your gutters

An accumulation of debris in your gutters could lead to costly long-term damage to your roof and home.

According to a 2009 nationwide poll of Angie’s List members, nearly 20 percent said they've had damage to their home as a result of ignoring needed gutter maintenance. Common problems are damage to the fascia, a leaky roof or basement, water damage to the interior, and landscaping erosion.  

A thorough cleaning should include the removal of all debris from the roof, gutters and downspouts, checking for loose gutters and repairing any loose gutter spikes.  

Doing it yourself can be a risky proposition. Each year more than 500,000 people are treated for ladder-related injuries in the U.S. according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Homeowners who don’t have the right equipment or have a complicated roofline should consider hiring a professional

Angie’s List advice on gutter cleaning:

  • Twice a year: Plan on cleaning your gutters once in the spring and again in the fall.
  • Check insurance: When hiring a gutter cleaning professional, check that the company is insured and ask to see their policy. Check that you have enough homeowners insurance, as well.
  • Have a helper: If you’re going to tackle the job yourself, get someone to stabilize the ladder and be on hand to help. Also, use a bucket attached to a rope to load up the debris and lower down to your helper to dispose of, so you’re not cleaning up twice.
  • Ladder safety: Always use a ladder that is long enough for the task and wear shoes that have good traction. Avoid leaning your ladder on the gutters, as this can damage them. Most hardware stores carry ladder extensions that curve to put the ladder weight on the roof.
  • Scoop it up: Put on some heavy-duty gloves or use a small gardening shovel to scoop out leaves, sticks and other debris that might be clogging gutters and spouts.
  • Get out the hose: After the debris is removed, use the hose for a final rinse to check that water is moving through your downspouts properly.
  • Clear obstructions: If the water fails to drain freely, use a plumbing snake or wet/dry vac to clear the clog from the bottom up.
  • Don’t forget to check gutter screens/guards: Protective barriers for gutters are growing increasingly popular, but are not a replacement for regular cleanings. An accumulation of debris in your gutters could lead to costly long-term damage to your roof and home. Check that these are not damaged or clogged with leaves.
  • Rest up! Take frequent breaks, especially when working from a ladder.
  • A final check: Once your gutters are clean, check to see that they are firmly attached to your home, and repair any loose spots you find.



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Why you shouldn't neglect your gutters

Guttercleaning.jpg

leaf-filled gutter on house
Cleaning your gutters of leaves and other debris once or twice a year will protect your home from water damage.

Don’t fall down on the job of keeping your gutters and downspouts clear and in good repair. They may be an “out of sight, out of mind” aspect of your home exterior, but neglecting them can lead to costly repairs.

Leave a Comment - 10

Comments

Truth be Known

Subject:

It's all well and good to SAY you need both kinds of insurance, BUT... when the contractor/handyperson/whoever buys both kinds and charges a fee to make it affordable for him/her to stay in business the customer SQUALLS about the HIGH prices being charged when the "other person"-read fly-by-niter, can do it for much less.
Be aware of what you ask. If you want quality, you're going to pay for it. If you want economical, you may not get it in the long run. CAVEAT EMPTOR!! back at you.

Ben

Subject:

Doing your own work on your own house is the best thing for a homeowner by far. It gets you out there and makes you look at things, so you spot developing problems. I would also note that ladders are one of the largest sources of injuries for trade workers, which includes contractors.
I wouldn't discourage the homeowner from doing their own work, I would just urge them strongly to plan carefully and use the correct equipment.

Jack

Subject:

bought a telescoping attachment for my pressure washer from Northern Tool to power wash from the ground - beats hiring some joker who thinks he's got you by the short hairs!

Tucson Plumber

Subject:

I agree... it's not safe for home owners to be on the roof or even a ladder. Being in the construction industry I've seen and heard many stories about people becoming seriously injured and even killed from falling off of ladders.

gutter cleaning

Subject:

Jay B you are so on the money. Not only do you want to make sure they have those insurances but also make sure they are licensed and bonded with the state. Definatkly go with the professional!

Jay B

Subject:

Any contractor, for any kind of work on your house, should have two kinds of insurance: liability and Work Comp (WC). Many have one but not the other. Demand an Acord certificate for each kind from the contractor's insurance agent, preferably showing you as an additional insured. And make sure your homeowner's policy is current. If a workman falls and sues you, just hiring a lawyer to defend such a claim can cost $10,000 if the contractor doesn't have valid WC insurance covering all workers. Angie's List should have an article with this detail, which applies to any contractor working on your property. Handyman outfits, fly-by-nights and scam artists who want to work "under the table" are sources of trouble here, but accidents happen to even the best of contractors. Caveat emptor. Trying the chisel the tax man can produce a serious liability headache. Ask your lawyer.

Doug Miller

Subject:

Not a good idea for Home Owners to clean their own gutters.
As a roofing Contractor I as well as many Contractors in Indianapolis have heard countless stories of Home Owners being injured while cleaning their on gutters. CAll a professional.

JOSEPH H PEEK

Subject:

Recently we have experienced some frog-choaking rain and our property does not drain properly. I need someone who knows property and land drainage that can recommend a solution and then carry it out. There is a small cement slab and brick retaining wall around the basement door that needs to be completely rebuilt with modern waterproof brick construction. Plese get back to me as soon as possible. JHP

Abdul

Subject:

I once hired a contractor to replace our fuse box with a circuit breaker box. The contractor never showed up so I went to City Hall and purchased the required permits to do the work. I called up Con-Edison and they explained what had to be done. I replaced the old fuse box with a new circuit breaker box and got the installation approved by the city. The actual work was minimal, but the paper-work was
extensive.

Jack

Subject:

Hire a Pro...? I don't know about other areas of the country but in New England you can hire anyone for anything. The so called pros are mostly kids with dad's ladder and a pick-up truck while the real companies can't be bothered to even call back. They are 100% independant and could not care less about business. This applies to roofers, plumbers and electricians. Capenters are a bit better and will at least give you a quote and then never show up. I have been trying to hire a company to install new clog-free gutters and NO ONE will even return my calls. Business must be very good if they can afford to do that, I know in my business I can't be that care free. Building contractors and related business' are a racket and a rip off. It's a good thing for Home Depot & Lowes becuase I will be doing my own work for years to come. I've had my fill of being taken for a ride by sleazy - slimy contractors.

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