Friday, February 19, 2010

Learn to Use Gutter Guards and Clean Gutters

Installing gutter guards on your house or building helps cut down on the time it takes to clean gutters and the risks involved being up on a roof. An onerous and time consuming chore, cleaning gutters can be hazardous on some buildings and many people are unable to manage this chore easily. Once clean, it is a simple job to have gutter guards placed on all gutters around the house, preventing leaves and other debris from clogging them in the future. If you must get on the roof to clean gutters here's how to do it safely.

1. Wear appropriate clothing. Old clothes you don't care about and running shoes or other rubber soled shoes with good grips are best.

2. Prepare to clean gutters twice a year to keep them free of leaves and debris if you don't install gutter guards. Full gutters can pool water, overflow, rot or rust, and even pull free and fall.

3. Start at the bottom the down spout and scoop out debris with a trowel. Put debris in a plastic garbage bag to minimize mess. It is best to do this when the leaves and debris are slightly damp because they are easier to remove than when dry, dusty and encrusted or sopping wet and dripping with water.

4. Place a high step ladder firmly on a flat surface and wear eye protection and heavy gloves to prevent cutting yourself on screws, nails or sharp edges. When climbing onto the roof to clean gutters, be sure you have firm footing on ladder and roof shingles.

5. Using a high pressure spray nozzle, hose out length of gutter working towards the down spout. Avoid spraying mud and water on the house if possible. If plastic gutter guards have been installed there may be small bits of debris collected underneath. Angle spray under gutter guards to remove residue.

6. For stubborn spots, use a plumbers snake to break out any blockages if water and debris do not wash down the drain spout easily. Then continue with the hose.

7. Collect garbage and soggy leaves in the garbage bag and gently hose off any mess on the house or patio.

8. If you decide to install gutter guards, consider using ones made from micromesh screen. If installed properly they do not allow small leaves to enter gutters at all, eliminating the need to clean gutters.

9. Get several estimates from experienced companies and check references carefully. The micro-mesh gutter guards must be installed in the same plane as the roof for optimal effect. This means the gutters have to be lowered on the house. Lowering the gutters is not an easy job and one that is best performed by a professional.

10. When having the gutter guards installed, discuss in advance with the professional and be sure to confirm that the wind seal on the existing shingles is not broken when the gutters are lowered so the gutter guards can be put in place.

11. Check the warranty on your roof and gutters to be sure installing gutter guards will not void the terms in any way. Once high quality micro-mesh gutter guards have been installed, cleaning gutters will be a thing of the past.

12. Use a tall ladder that reaches all the way to the edge of the roof for safety climbing on and off when cleaning gutters. When installing gutter guards be sure to have a written contract from the professional and ask about the warranty.

Do you have gutter guards on your house? I'd love to hear about it and how they have helped save you time and money on cleaning the gutters or maintaining your home.

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