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D.I.Y. Saturday #20 – How to Properly Clean Gutters and Downspouts

Entry #288, October 2, 2010

It is already the beginning of October and we are up to #20 on our DIY Saturday’s! It is officially fall and time to start getting your home prepared for the fall and upcoming winter months. Today we are focusing on cleaning out the gutters and downspouts of your home.  While some think that this is a straight forward task, to others it is daunting and don’t do it at all.

Fall leave_hands

With a few tips, you can clean our your gutter and drainpsouts

Why it’s important to clean out your gutters:

  • Clean gutters will prevent your fascia boards from drying out and rotting.
  • Downspouts keep water from ponding around the foundation of your home, if not cleaned out they can get backed up and cause damage to the foundation of your home from water.
  • Ice dams can develop when dirty gutters get full with debris and rain turns into ice, therefore freezing over the gutter.
  • When gutters and downspouts are full with debris, roof water will shed off the roof too quickly and can cause ground erosion around your home.

Clean gutters and downspouts before winter sets in

Tools you will need: From

  • Garden Hoses
  • Garden Trowels
  • Leaf Blowers
  • Large Wooden Spoons
  • Plastic Trash Bags
  • Buckets
  • Caulks
  • Extension Ladders
  • Gutter Scoops
  • Plumber’s Snakes

Step 1:

Gain access to the roof with a ladder. Don’t lean the ladder against a downspout or gutter, which can easily bend or break.

Step 2:

Remove leaves and twigs from gutters by hand or with a large spoon, a gutter scoop or a small garden trowel.

Step 3:

Wet down caked-on dirt, which can be difficult to remove without damaging the gutter itself, then remove it with the gutter scoop or trowel.


Clean out debris regularly

Step 4:

Put debris in a bucket or plastic trash bag placed on the roof or ladder. If you use a bag, you can just drop it when it’s full.

Step 5:

Check that the downspouts aren’t clogged. Use water to unclog your downspouts by placing a garden hose in the opening. But be gentle at first; downspouts aren’t designed to withstand the same pressure as a house drain.

Step 6:

If a plugged downspout can’t be cleared with a hose, use a small plumber’s snake or an unbent clothes hanger. Again, be gentle. Gutters are not as strong as house pipes.

Step 7:

Use the hose to flush the gutters with water after cleaning. (This is also the best time to find out if there are any leaks in the system.)

You Tube Video:

How to clean your gutters and downspouts:

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