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Get Ready for Fall Rains: A Quick Guide to Cleaning Your Gutters

Cleaning your gutters before rainThe seasons are turning and fall has finally arrived. It’s time to start thinking about seasonal chores and preparing your home for the changes the weather will bring. One task that is not to be overlooked is cleaning your gutters. It’s not a fun chore, but it’s critical to the longevity of your home and you’ll want to put it at the top of your seasonal to-do list so you’re not caught off guard by the first rains.

Generally, cleaning your gutters should be done twice a year, once in the beginning of spring to remove winter’s debris, and once in the beginning of fall to remove the summer leaves and prepare for the rains ahead. The thing to note about gutters is that debris is not just a water damage or rainy season worry, gutters are not meant to sustain any kind of real weight, when you leave them full of debris it’s undue stress which can cause sagging; or worse, pulling away from the siding. Cleaning gutters regularly will not only help them function and keep your home dryer, you’ll be extending the life of your gutter so it’s around to serve you year after year, season after season.

There are many opinions about the best method for cleaning a gutter and what tools are necessary. At ARS Roofing, we are of the thought that you can clean them however is most comfortable for you; including if you just want to hire someone else to do it, as long as they get cleaned. We get a lot of calls in the beginning of fall and throughout the winter season because we offer 24/7 gutter repair to Sonoma and Marin counties. We’re always happy to come to your rescue because we want to be there when you need us most, but in an effort to save you the headache, we thought we’d walk you through the basics of gutter cleaning. This fall with our simple guide you can prep early then relax and let your gutters do all the work.

Gutter Cleaning 101

Get your gear assembled.

First things first, put on an outfit you won’t mind getting dirty. If you have some old garden gloves, grab those too, or if it’s already been a bit wet you can use a pair of dishwashing gloves. The point is, chances are you’ll get a little dirty, but it’s easier to work when you keep your hands clean and dry, so wearing gloves is going to work in your favor. If you’ve got a pair of goggles, you might want to wear those too, just in case you get a little messy when you rinse the lines.

Locate a ladder and your waste bin.

You can always buy or borrow one of the fancy hose attachments that let you blast your gutters with water while never setting foot on a ladder, but if you do that you’ll be missing an important part of gutter cleaning; checking the condition of your system. If you have more than a single story house, you’re best off hiring a pro, but if you’re willing and able, a ladder can help you get the most out of your cleaning efforts. At ARS Roofing, we’re used to getting up on the roof and we know that’s not part of everyone’s comfort zone, but if you can manage getting on a ladder you’ll be multitasking. When you can see into your gutters you’ll be able to inspect them for rust and clogs as you work, instead of finding the problem later when your clean gutters are leaking during a rainstorm. In addition to a sturdy ladder, make sure you have a waste bin for all the debris you’ll be pulling out of your gutters.

Keep your hose handy & get to work.

After you’ve got your tools assembled the task is simple, stabilize your ladder and climb up to the lowest rung that still allows you to see into the gutters. From there you can pull out the large debris and throw them away. When you’ve cleared a full line you can rinse with a hose on high pressure, making sure to spray towards the downspout. Once you’ve cleared the gutter, use the hose or an auger to clean out the downspouts as well.

Once your gutter is free of large debris, take a few minutes to backtrack and run your hands gingerly along the inside seams of the gutter. If you see or feel any rough or rusty spots, it’s a good idea to mark them. If you’ve got more than a few questionable spots, consider giving us a call so we can check the condition of your gutters and let you know if they’re in need of repair or replacing before the rains hit.

While we know gutter cleaning isn’t fun to think about, we encourage you to schedule time to do it or have a professional do it for you before the fall rains begin. And, if you happen to find yourself with a leaking, sagging, or detaching gutter, remember you can call us whenever you need us. At ARS Roofing we’ll be here for your roofing and gutter needs 24/7, including holidays and through all the seasons to keep your roof and gutters working as they should.