DIY Project in Focus – Clearing your gutters

By | February 28, 2014 | DIY, How To's and Guides, Featured Stories, In The Home

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Difficulty – Easy

Duration – 2-3 hours

It’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it! Clearing gutters is an important household job that should be done twice a year – which will pay dividends and help to protect your home in the long run.

If left unchecked, leaves, debris and other gunk can build up in your gutters and clog your downpipe preventing the gutters from doing their job properly, and stopping water from draining. Over time, this can cause serious (and expensive) water damage to your home.

Thankfully, gutters are fairly easy to clean, but it is fairly time consuming as well as physically demanding work, and can be dangerous, as you’ll be climbing up and down a ladder multiple times and working at height.

In this guide, we look at how you can do it safely.

You’ll need:

  • Ladder – big enough to reach the guttering safely, without stretching!
  • Work gloves
  • Trowel
  • Garden hose
  • Ladder bucket hook

Step 1 – Set up your ladders

Working at height always has the potential to be dangerous, which is why it’s vital that you set your ladder up properly.

When cleaning gutters, it’s best to start at the end closest to the downpipe, so set your ladder up there first. Make sure you set your ladder at the right angle (check for the safety mark on the side of your ladder), and on a firm, flat surface to ensure it’s steady.

If you’re at all worried about the sturdiness of the ladder, then ask someone to hold it at the bottom. Don’t go up the ladder if it is windy, if it looks unstable, or if it isn’t long enough to reach the guttering safely.

Now, climb the ladder, and fix your ladder bucket hook, before hanging your bucket from it – you’re going to want two hands free for cleaning!

Step 2 – Cleaning out the big bits

Once you’re at the top of the ladder, use your hands and trowel to remove the large debris from the gutter, like leaves, sticks, mud and dirt, and put it in the bucket.

Whilst it can be tempting to try and reach as much of the guttering as possible, be sensible – the single biggest cause of ladder falls is over-reaching. As a general rule, you should always keep your belly button in-between the vertical struts of the ladder to ensure you’re properly balanced.

Reset your ladder regularly, and repeat this step until you’ve cleared the whole gutter of large debris, remembering to empty the bucket whenever it gets full.

Step 3 – Flushing it out

Once you’ve removed the larger debris from the whole length of the gutter, then you can finish the job using a hose to flush out the remnants left behind.

Start at the point furthest away from your downpipe, and wash the small materials along the gutter towards the downpipe. Depending on the length of the gutter, you may be able to do this all in one go, or it may require you to work your way back towards the downpipe.

Step 4 – If the water doesn’t drain

If, when you try to flush the gutter, the water doesn’t drain, or drains very slowly, then you may have a clog somewhere in the system. Check the strainer on the downpipe, and make sure it is clear, then try again.

If it still wont drain, then you probably have a clog in your downpipe.

Step 5 – Unclogging a downpipe

If your downpipe is blocked, then first, check the drain end for any blockages or foreign objects stuck in the pipe.

If you’ve got a pressure nozzle for your hose, attach it, then insert it at the bottom of the downpipe, and turn on the water at full pressure, to try and dislodge any blockages.

If this fails, then you may need to use some drainage rods to dislodge the blockage.

Once this step has been completed, check that it drains properly by flushing the system again.

How Eurofit can help

You can find most of the tools needed to clean your drain in our DIY tools section – all at unbeatable prices!

 

 

 

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About the Author

Ryan Hirst

Hi I'm Ryan and I am the online marketing assistant at Eurofit Direct. My role includes contributing to the company blog and managing the Eurofit Direct Facebook and Twitter pages. You can find me on twitter at @RyanWHirst and on Google+ here

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