Preparing your gutters for winter – gutter cleaning tips

Winter is around the corner and it is time to clean the gutters.

First…..Get the Proper Tools
Gather your tools before you start. You should have the following:
• Gloves: these help because not only do they keep your hands clean, but also protect against metal pieces and screws in the troughs
• Trowel or scoop: again, these tools save your hands from grime and injury, but also speed up cleaning as you can just scoop and dump.
• Ladder: some experienced gutter cleaners recommend using a tall step ladder for stability instead of an extension ladder. Having someone steady the bottom is also a good idea. For more on ladder safety, read our blog on 10 ladder safety tips.
• Rake/Broom: leaves and debris should be raked and removed, including on the roof, so any rain won’t push more into the troughs.
• Goggles: if anything splashes into your face, or something sharp gets flushed out of the gutter, your eyes are protected. They also keep insects and other critters from getting into your eyes.
• Garbage bag: This makes clean up MUCH easier. Scoop and dispose!
• Hose (or pressure hose): To run the water through and check the flow of water and downspouts.

Be Safe
Practice safety every step of the way. Follow ladder safety rules. Don’t stand on the top rungs, put a 2×4 in the trough to prevent crushing if you lean the ladder against it and only work on the roof in good weather. Don’t do troughs when it is windy, icy or wet. Wear sturdy shoes with good grip. Avoid leaning over edges or working near power lines.

Regular Cleaning
Clean at least once a year sometime in November prior to the winter storms, maybe more if your property sits below large trees. It is a good idea to clean gutters in the spring and late fall here in the San Francisco Bay Area, as these are the two times there will be the most leaves and debris to remove. By doing the cleaning now, there is less chance of blockage in the winter when it can freeze and crack the trough. Water will be able to flow properly. Spring cleaning prevents water damage due to run off from a clogged gutter.

Repair and Maintain
Repair and maintain gutters to prevent cracks, clogs and broken troughs right away. Even a little crack can cause big problems if left alone. By maintaining gutters, you are preventing damage to your home and keeping your investments safe. Clean gutters also keep your house in good condition and looking fresh. You will be preventing mold and critters from getting too comfortable as well.

Get a Professional
Perhaps the biggest of the gutter cleaning tips is if the job is too big, or too much for you to handle, always call a gutter cleaning service like MCC Building Maintenance, we can do it safely and offer free maintenance advice.

There are leaf-catching systems, but they still need to be cleaned by removing and rinsing the screens. They can be costly as well. Sometimes it is just better to call someone who specializes in this work and has all the tools and manpower ready.

Professionals Use Safe, Effective Equipment
For example, MCC Building Maintenance operators are trained to use a “gutter vac” – a high pressure suction system that can be used from ground level.

Gutter cleaning definitely needs doing though, because blocked gutters can cause water to overflow when winter’s heavy rains arrive. This can result in walls becoming soaked and transferring damp to the interior of the property.

It’s Not Only Leaves That Block Gutters
Many owners and managers, who may live in areas with few trees, have learned to their cost that it isn’t only leaves that block gutters. Seagulls drop bones and other food debris, and tennis balls thrown by kids are frequently found. Moss can collect in round lumps on roofs during the damp weather. Pine needles from adjoining property can drop on your roof top due to heavy winds.

The other thing about professional gutter cleaning is that you can get any leaks fixed, the downspouts checked, and a licensed service provider is qualified to test the whole system at the end to make sure it is sound. This enables you to spot any potential problems early, and make a small, inexpensive repair before things get serious. Then you can sit back and listen to the winter rain, knowing your gutters are doing a great job!

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