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How to Remove Leaves from a Roof Gutter

How to Remove Leaves from a Roof Gutter
22.08.2022

A gutter system protects a building from excessive moisture. Gutters and roof outlets carry rain and meltwater, as well as organic debris accumulating on the roof brought there with the wind from nearby trees. Gutters come in different sizes and configurations, but they all rely on the same principle and require similar maintenance.

To keep the system running smoothly, gutters must be regularly cleaned of leaves, needles and other debris clogging the pipes and obstructing the collection and flow of water.

When to Clean Gutters

It is recommended to clean the system twice a year:

  • when preparing for snow melt, which is when you need to remove not only organic debris accumulating during the winter in considerable quantities, but also snow and ice;
  • in fall or late summer, when the rainy season begins, preceded by a rather large amount of flying leaves and pine needles settled on the roof of the house.

Depending on the property and the environment in which the house is located, it may require more frequent cleaning of gutters from leaves, needles and debris. Also, the rate of accumulation of debris and the need to clean the gutters depends on the type of roof, and its angle.

Typically, a full cleaning of the system twice a year is sufficient: in early spring and late fall. You can have an unscheduled cleaning when it becomes apparent that the gutter system is heavily clogged with leaves or debris. However, if cleaning is required frequently, it may be a good idea to check the configuration of the system to see if it is set up correctly. It may be necessary to change the pipe slope a little, so that the water flows down the pipes more efficiently taking the small debris with it.

How to Clean a Gutter

You can use several methods for cleaning:

  • manual;
  • water;
  • mechanized.

The choice of method depends on the size of the building and gutter system, the material from which the gutters are made. The choice also depends on access to the roof, the amount of debris and other working conditions. You clean the gutters yourself, and usually by hand. If your house is small and there is little debris, it is sufficient. But if your house is higher than 2 floors, if the system of gutters and outlets is large and complex, you should invite professionals to clean it with the necessary equipment.

Manual Cleaning of Gutters

Debris is collected with a scoop of round shape. You can make it yourself by trimming a plastic bottle with a suitable diameter. It is more convenient to clean the gutters after it has rained, when the debris is wet, not dusty and not flying around. Having removed large debris, small dirt, needles can be gently swept away with a small brush. If the gutters are made of plastic, it is important not to damage or scratch their coating. That is, metal brushes should not be used.

Cleaning with Water

Flushing the gutter system with a hose is a convenient way to do this. Large debris is washed away, but you need to make sure that it does not clog the gutters. Water should be pressurized. You can use a brush to remove the dirt from the gutters to the outside, not allowing it to accumulate on the corners.

Automated Methods

To remove leaves, needles, and debris from gutters, blowers are used. They come in gasoline-powered, battery-powered, and mains-powered versions. They all remove dirt with a directed stream of air. It is better to carry out cleaning in dry weather.

This is another device — a special robotic vacuum cleaner for gutters and pipes. This is a small and lightweight device that moves along the gutter and cleans dirt with rotating auger conveyors. It can run both in dry weather and after rain.

Sometimes, high-pressure washers, like those for car washing, are also used for cleaning. However, they produce plenty of splashes of water that turn into muddy streaks on the walls and windows.

Why Cleaning a Gutter System

Leaves, needles, debris, and dust clog open and closed gutters, jamming them up and forming a rather heavy and dense mass. The diameter of the gutter becomes smaller, unable to ensure the passage of water in the volume for which it is designed. Water accumulates on the roof and flows slower, spilling over the edge of the open gutters. If the moisture has no paths to exit normally, it simply runs down the walls, penetrates through the finish in the supporting structures and damages them.

You should not hope that the rain will wash away all the dirt. Leaves, small twigs, resinous needles combined with plant pollen and dust become glued together, turning into a single mushy mass, which sticks to metal and plastic coverings of drains.

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