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Although having clean gutters sounds easy, it is not quite a simple task. Some might believe that installing gutter guards takes care of the problem once and for all.
However, the truth is that even the best gutter guards need cleaning. But, if the system is better, it doesn’t have to be cleaned as frequently. The job of the gutter guard is to protect gutters from twigs, leaves, and other debris, all the while allowing water to pass through them unhindered.
But, over time, debris does start accumulating in the gutters and needs to be hosed out. Although it is an easy task, it should not be left unattended if you wish to avoid damage to the house.
So, the important question here is – how should you effectively clean gutter guards? Let us get into the details without any further delay.
- How to Clean Gutter Guards?
- Kinds of Gutter Guards and How to Maintain Them
Why Do We Need Gutter Guards?
Although we’ve touched upon it briefly, a gutter guard can be defined as something which protects our gutters from debris and dirt. It could become problematic if these accumulated too much. Most gutter guards work in the same way; they catch small leaves and the castoffs of trees, allowing us to blow them away once they’re dry. Further, they allow the rainfall to pass down the roof before going into the gutter.
There are various designs when it comes to these guards, and homeowners can easily install them too. Alternatively, you can hire professionals to take care of the installation. Apart from keeping gutters clean, these guards also help in various other ways.
Firstly, gutter guards prevent animals from making nests or homes. There’s no need to frequently climb up a ladder to clean the gutter, making it safer. The guards can easily be attached to existing gutters, and they prevent water from getting pooled. In turn, this stops too many bugs from accumulating around stagnant water.
Not only do the guards protect the gutters and keep them functional for a longer time, but they also help in rainwater harvesting, for those interested.
How to Clean Gutter Guards?
First off, you should do away with the notion that gutter guards eliminate the need to clean gutters at all. Several products might claim to do so, but it merely means that you don’t have to constantly clean them out after every storm or when leaves fall in autumn. That aside, it is recommended that you check them annually and clean them as needed.
Now, before we get to the steps of cleaning the gutter guard, here’s what you’ll need. Grab a drop cloth, a ladder to reach the higher places, hand protection, and a hose if you have someone assisting you.
Finally, this brings us to the step by step cleaning process.
Place the Drop Cloth
Placing the drop cloth should be the first thing to do since it serves as a safety net of sorts. It should ideally be under the area where you’ll be working. This way, the cloth can catch the debris that might fall during the cleaning process.
It saves you from the hassle of having to clean out your lawn or garden bed just to remove the debris from cleaning your gutter guard. Moreover, it protects the bushes or shrubs that might be in the way of the falling debris.
Securing the Ladder
In order to clean the gutter guard, you’ll be on your ladder for a long time. Usually, these guards run along the roof, which means the altitude is rather high, and a fall from that height is most likely to hurt you.
Therefore, it is best to take all possible precautions. Secure the ladder before using it, and take any other additional safety measures that you see fit. If possible, have someone hold the base of the ladder for an additional degree of safety and stability.
Using Hand Protection
Since cleaning the gutter guard requires you to work with your hands, it is best to use protection. We recommend wearing gardening gloves so that you don’t accidentally stab yourself in the hand with a twig or something sharp while cleaning out the gutter.
We recommend keeping the gloves on before climbing the ladder so that you can use both hands for the cleaning process.
Remove Materials Off Guards
Once you’ve put on the gloves and climbed up the ladder, it is time to get to work. First, you should remove all the debris that the guard has caught. Normally, this is a simple enough task. The leaves, twigs, or branches can be swept off with a single stroke of the hand. If something feels stuck, then it is advisable to pull at it gently until the object becomes loose.
Remove the Guard
Notably, this step is only applicable to those who have hinged guards or removable ones. After everything on top of the guard has been cleaned off, you can open it up completely. In the event that you feel the openings are blocked, or if it is a brush style guard, then you might choose to rinse it off.
This opens things up. Further, you can look inside the gutter to see if there are things accumulated that the rainwater hasn’t rinsed. It is ideal for removing anything that can be grasped and keeps the gutter clean too.
Hose Down the Guard
If you see that your gutter guard is not removable, we recommend using a hose. Let the water flow freely through the openings and then go through the gutter. This clears out any possible blockages by removing the dirt that might have accumulated there.
Replace the Guards and Secure Them
In the event that you might have removed the guards, be sure to secure them and put them back in the correct manner. After that, perform a quick check to see if anything is caught in them or blocking them, despite the rinsing or hose down. If everything looks fine, then clean up the site.
Kinds of Gutter Guards and How to Maintain Them
Though there are different kinds of gutter guards, maintaining them and keeping them clean and debris free is rather similar. All the guards are designed to keep debris from getting into the gutter itself. So, occasionally, a branch, twig, or leaf might need removal.
These usually work with your pre-existing gutters. They are very budget-friendly and are easy to install, as well. The bristled brushes almost appear as a large brush that might be used for bottle cleaning. It fits directly into the gutter and allows the water to pass through while catching the larger debris.
To maintain this, you have to clean out some of the debris that might get stuck and also check for the dirt that hasn’t been completely washed through.
These are made of metal, and they fit over the gutter. Thus, water can pass through, but understandably, the perforations stop the debris from doing the same. Here, the debris is accumulated on top, so it is extremely easy to sweep them clean once they are dried up.
These are actually quite similar to the perforated variants. Here, a super fine mesh is placed over the gutter. Thus, the water can flow through easily, thanks to the many open spaces. At the same time, no debris is allowed into the gutters.
Here too, debris might get accumulated at the top. At this time, it would be easy to clean the screen by wiping the top of the gutter guard completely clean.
One might choose to set these into the gutters to allow the water to flow through easily. Although the foam is well equipped to prevent debris from entering, the dense nature of these guards ensures that you have to rinse them from time to time.
Sometimes, you also have to remove some bits that get stuck to the surface, like twigs or a pine needle. This is one of the more inexpensive guards, which is also simple to maintain.
These designs often fit over existing gutters through attachments to the roof. Sometimes, they serve as an entire gutter system, which allows rainwater curving down the gutter and washing the debris away at the same time. Overall, this is considered to be extremely effective, and if installed in the right manner, little to no maintenance is needed for this system.
At the end of the day, you have to remember that a clogged gutter can turn into a nightmare for homeowners. The roofs might get damaged as well, so it would be smart to clean the gutters occasionally.
Here, we have shown the different kinds of gutter guards you can install to minimize the hassle of cleaning the gutter itself. But, each of these has to be maintained too. Routine inspections work best, especially after storms or during times when you know the gutters might be exposed to debris.
Hopefully, following the guide here, you will have an easy time cleaning out your gutters. It is best to follow the safety measures we’ve recommended. As an additional tip, we should mention getting a bucket during the cleaning process to keep the debris for later disposal.
If you have any other questions about keeping the gutters and the gutter guards clean, feel free to reach out to us. Adios!