Rain Gutters- Love Them and Hate Them!
In a perfect world, gutters would only fill up in the fall if you live in the northern hemisphere. We know painfully well that it is not a perfect world. Gutters can become a concern after a heavy wind or rainstorm, or if some unexpected object takes up residence in your gutter that is large or dense enough to create a backup. This can happen any time of year and will give property owners fits if they are not familiar with resolving this or equipped to do so. Water buildup will spill onto the ground and mess up landscaping. Sustained weight due to sitting water will cause stress on gutter supports, eventually ruining the proper pitch of the gutter run. If the water becomes ice, the body of the gutter may be forced to expand and alter the proper flow. Excess water can run down the side of the wall below and potentially undermine the foundation.
Easiest Way to Clean a Gutter Clog
So, how does one remedy a problem gutter? Unless you can actually see what is in a gutter from a distance (large twig, tree branch, plant growing etc) you will need to safely set up a ladder to get a close look. If you have 2 or 3 floors in your house, you may be able to look out a window to a lower gutter and see what the culprit is. Or you may own a drone with a camera that can reveal where your problem is as well. A note about ladders- stepladders need to be opened up fully and have all four feet planted on the ground or pavement. If you can't make it sit level, beware. When you put your weight on each successive rung, there is going to be a slight shift in the concentration of your weight. Even a slight shift can turn into a ladder fall if the ground is soft or the user does not have a great sense of balance. Extension ladders have 2 feet, but the same idea applies. Soft or uneven ground, a dangerous climbing angle, or an improper end ladder height can be a serious danger. All that aside, if you can safely see what the issue is, it will likely be a simple fix by pulling out what is causing the clog. Herein will lie another caveat- if it's a stubborn branch that's stuck under a brace or you have to lean more than a foot or two away from the ladder, you may very well lose your balance. So please be careful!
Other Viable Ways to Clean Gutters
There are special ladders and ladder accessories that can make cleaning gutters safer. Also, some professionals use gutter vacuums to do it all with feet firmly planted. A homeowner can rig up something similar that may or may not work with a shop vac, extensions, and a gooseneck end. Some roofs may be safe enough to walk and be either sprayed out or cleared with a leaf blower. Pressure washing can get results by force, but there are obviously inherent cautions with this method. They would be whether the user is in control of the process, firmly balanced, and very deliberate. While blowing the leaves out can cause an initial mess, imagine the mess that high-pressure water forcing gutter debris in every direction causes! A lot to consider!
In Northeastern Pennsylvania, 'gutter cleaning season' is generally speaking, anywhere from late October to mid-late November. This is the time of year, of course, when most or all of the leaves have fallen off the deciduous trees in the area. As a result, nearby leaves fall onto or into gutters. It is a very good idea to have them cleaned at least once a year. Earlier in this post, potential issues were brought up that may create an immediate need for attention. When those fluffy, almost waterproof leaves are left to lay in a gutter, they will eventually break down into soil. I know this from experience, having cleaned gutters as an added service to window cleaning. I have literally pulled tiny maple trees from gutters many times! Clearly, this is not a place where you want to be with your own gutters. Also, beware that while there are a few gutter guard systems that work properly as advertised, there are countless installed covers that have failed. This could be due to a poor-quality product or poor installation. When guards become ineffective, the proper cleaning of your gutters will take even more time and effort. Some or all of the guards will have to be removed to clean what debris got inside and then replaced. More time translates to more cost.
Hopefully, this short article has shed light on gutter cleaning. If you'd like to take care of your gutter cleaning, feel free to inquire on our website or call or text us at 5706300326. We serve many areas in Northeastern Pennsylvania.
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