Springtime in the UK may be known for blossom and cute baby animals, but it’s most famous of all for one thing – rain. When you’re drawing up your spring to-do list, make sure to put aside time to clear your gutter.
Moss, leaves and other debris can block your gutters, leaving them unable to drain. Pooled rainwater can pull your gutter away from the wall, or even leak through your roof into your home. Luckily, keeping your gutters clear and flowing is easy.
When should you clear your gutters?
You should clear your gutters twice a year, in the spring and autumn. Ideally, look for a dry day before a big storm. Dirt, mud and leaves will be easier to clear out if they’re dry, and you’ll want your drains working when a storm hits.
What tools do you need?
To clear your gutters you’ll need:
- A ladder
- A pair of work gloves
- A bucket
- A garden hose
- A plastic scoop, small spade or spatula
You’ll also be able to work more safely if you have someone else to help you by holding your ladder and equipment.
How to clear your gutters
Pull on your work gloves, as well as a set of old clothes you don’t mind getting dirty. Set up your ladder on a flat, level and hard surface in easy reach of your gutter. Your ladder shouldn’t wobble when you shake it.
Climb up to where you can comfortably reach the guttering and begin pulling out any large debris. You can use a bucket hook to suspend a bucket from your ladder or have your assistant hold it for you. The debris can be thrown away in the bin you usually use for garden waste.
Once you’ve removed any large pieces, use your plastic tool or your fingers to scoop out the dirt and sediment in the bottom of the gutter. Use something that’s rigid but not harder than your gutter or sharp to avoid damage.
Move your ladder along the length of the gutter as you work, and as you clear each section use your garden hose to rinse away any remaining dirt. You can use this to check the pipe is draining easily, and that there isn’t any obstruction that you’ve missed.
If your pipe is blocked, you can use your hose pipe or a tool such as a plumbers snake to try and clear the obstruction. If the gutter still won’t drain, it might be time to call in an expert to have a look.
Trying to find the blockage in your drain pipe? Tap the side of the pipe with a screwdriver handle, you’ll hear a hollow knock if the pipe is clear and a dull thud if you hit against the blockage.
While your clearing the gutters, take the chance to look for any sections that are coming loose from the wall or any holes in the guttering. Catching a problem early means you can replace one section of the gutter instead of the whole wall.
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