Scary news, folks. It’s almost gutter season. I know, that word strikes fear in many a homeowner. One of those homeowners might even ask why they should be cleaned at all. It’s actually an extremely important task. Water has to go somewhere. If it is blocked from the gutter because of obstructions such as leaves and debris, it can go under the siding and roof instead, where it can cause rot issues. And rot issues are a thousand times worse than cleaning gutters.

Pat told me that gutters should be cleaned “about a month or two after all the leaves have fallen [but] before we get snow and ice.” So, you have a bit of a window, especially because the Pacific Northwest doesn’t get a lot of snow and ice in the last quarter. However, if your roof is under a tree or elsewhere where you receive a lot of debris, be prepared to clean your gutters more often. As with most home issues, a little bit of consistent maintenance will save you a lot of money and time in the long run.

Though there are a number of companies that can clean your gutters for you, if you’re not afraid of heights and are extremely comfortable on a ladder, you can clean your gutters yourself using these simple steps:

1. Scoop out loose debris

2. Blast out the gutters with a hose

3. Clear obstructions in drainpipes

I don’t think it can be stated any more simply than that. Of course, actually doing it isn’t quite as easy as it sounds. For example, sometimes you will find mud splashed all over your first floor windows. I (Melissa) asked my father for some tips because my parents live in the woods and therefore he has to clean the gutters fairly often. Beyond “don’t fall off the roof,” he suggested some two simple but practical tips. Firstly, wear long pants even if you’re cleaning on a warm day. He wears shorts even in the winter and discovered the hard way that crawling around on asphalt will do a number to your legs if they’re not protected. Secondly, be sure to wear gloves. Your gutters may be filled with mostly leaves but there are a number of types that are very sharp, such as pine needles. If you have water in your gutters, be sure to put rubber gloves underneath so your hands will stay warm and dry.

If cleaning your gutters is more hassle than it’s worth or if you haven’t been on ladders often, please consider calling a professional or asking a neighbor. Clean gutters are not worth broken legs!

© Rose Construction 2009