Tackling the task of cleaning gutters may not spark excitement but neglecting it could lead to substantial consequences for your home. Beyond the inconvenience, clogged gutters can pave the way for drainage issues and even roof damage, often not covered by insurance. So, while it may not be a favourite on your cleaning checklist, understanding how to help with gutters and downpipes is an essential part of home maintenance.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through the ins and outs of gutter cleaning—when to do it, what supplies you’ll need, and how to execute the task efficiently. From the top of the roof to the downpipes, we’ve got you covered. Read on to discover practical tips, frequency recommendations, and the tools required for a DIY approach. Whether you embrace the physical challenge yourself or contemplate the assistance of professionals such as your local Pro Plumber, our insights will guide you through the process. Let’s delve into the key steps to help with gutters and downpipes and ensure they remain free-flowing and problem-free.
How Often to Clean Gutters And Downpipes
We recommend that you clean your gutters twice a year—once in spring and once in autumn, when your yard is likely to get the heaviest rain and leaf accumulation. If you have an unusually stormy season, consider adding a third gutter cleaning each year.
Considerations Before You Get Started
You can clean your gutters yourself with a little physical fitness, agility, and patience and save a chunk of cash. But if you decide to hire professionals to do this tough job, send Pro Plumber a quote enquiry to get a sense of how much it costs for us to do it.
The average cost for cleaning gutters is around $280 but goes up or down depending on the gutter length and the complexity involved in cleaning them. Gutter cleaning costs are typically calculated based on the size of your home, so taller homes, homes with second or third stories, will cost more.
What You Need:
- Extension ladder with stabiliser attachment (This is so the ladder doesn’t have to rest against the gutters, which could cause damage.)
- Work gloves
- Hand trowel (something like this from Bunnings will be fine)
- Hose with sprayer
- Compost or Green Bin
- Rubber-soled shoes (to prevent slipping)
- Patience (This job can take several hours)
- Extension ladder
- Work gloves
- Hose with sprayer
- Hand trowel
- Auger (aka plumbing snake) (this one should do the trick)
How To Clean Gutters With a Hand Trowel And Hose
Step 1: Climb the Ladder and Scoop Out Leaves and Debris
Place the ladder at one end of the roof so you can reach into the gutter without much leaning or straining. Wearing gloves and using the hand trowel, scoop the leaves and debris from the gutter and drop them onto the ground. Keep going until you’ve gotten out all of the gunk you can get out.
Step 2: Slide the Ladder Over and Repeat
Move the ladder over a metre or two and repeat on the next stretch of the gutter. Continue this process and repeat until the whole gutter is clear of leaves and debris.
Step 3: Flush Out the Gutter
Use the sprayer to flush out the gutter. Make sure that you direct the stream toward the downpipe (the vertical pipe that runs from the gutter to the ground).
Step 4: Rake the Debris
Come down from the ladder and rake up the debris that has been scattered throughout your yard. Place it in your green bin or compost.
How To Clear Downpipes With a Hose
People commonly clean their home’s gutters but forget to clean the downpipes. Then rainwater runs through the gutters and gets stuck in the downpipes, backing up and potentially damaging the exterior and foundation. Here’s how to clean the downpipes:
Step 1: Detach the Gutter Elbow
If your downpipes have a gutter elbow (the curved portion that connects the gutter to the vertical downpipe), unscrew and detach them. Clear out this small portion of pipe with your hand or trowel.
Step 2: Flush Out Debris With a Hose
Insert a hose into the top of the downpipe. Flush out any leaves or debris with the water pressure from the hose. Watch the end of the downpipe to make sure the clog has cleared.
Step 3: Clear With a Plumbing Snake
If the downspout is still clogged, you may need an Auger (plumbing snake) to clear it. Insert the end of the auger in the downpipe and drop it down until it hits the clogged portion. Turn the crank to loosen the clog. Place the garden hose in the downspout again and flush out any remaining debris.
Step 4: Rake the Debris
Come down from the ladder and rake up the debris. Place it in your green bin or compost.
How do I know if my gutters need cleaning?
Here are some telltale signs that it’s time to clean your gutters:
- Rainwater is pouring over the side.
- Plants are sprouting out of them.
- Birds or insects congregate there.
- The gutters are sagging
- Water stains have developed on the siding below the gutters.
How do I know if my gutters need to be replaced?
Sometimes there are clear indications that your gutters need to be replaced.
- They are cracked or have broken apart at the seam.
- The paint is peeling off in big clumps.
- Large portions of the gutter are rusted and eroding.
- The hardware that keeps gutters in place (nails and fasteners) continually fall off.
How do I clean the mould stains on the outside of my gutters?
Gutters are commonly made out of aluminium or vinyl. Find out which material yours are made of before you choose a cleaning solution. If your gutters are aluminium, avoid harsh chemical cleaners, which can cause damage.
- For aluminium gutters: Mix 1 cup of white vinegar to 4 litres of water. Scrub the gutters with this solution using a cloth. (Avoid metal brushes or steel wool pads, which can scratch the metal.)
- For vinyl gutters: Mix a splash of dish soap to about 7 litres of water, and half a cup of bleach. Put it in a spray bottle. Spray the solution onto the gutters and scrub with a scrub brush.