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Cleaning tips to keep homes clean and fresh 

Gutter Clearing

 

 

 I have started with gutter clearing, because not everyone wants the external surfaces of their gutters cleaning, and for those that do, it is best to start by clearing out the gutters.

There are 3 ways of clearing out the gutters :-

(1) Climbing up a ladder

(2) Using a Pressure Washer Lance

(3) Using a Wet and Dry Vacuum Cleaner

 

 


 

 (1) How to clear gutters from a ladder

  • Before you start, make sure you have a good pair of plastic water-proof gloves to protect your hands from the sharp debris and rough surfaces.

  • This is the most dangerous way how to clear gutters and should only be attempted by people that are experienced at working with ladders and understand how to set the ladders up in a safe way. There are in depth instructions on the How to use ladders page.

  • To complete this task safely it is best to make use of ladder restraints and ladder stand-offs, these enable you to work from above the gutter without squashing in the gutters.

     

     

  • Gutters are normally made from either plastic, cast iron or aluminium and the plastic gutters are especially prone to being squashed in.This can make it more difficult to remove any debris.

  • Here in the U.K. house builders have a tendency to fit plastic gutters far to close to the roof tiles, which can make it difficult to get your fingers in to clear out any debris.There are some useful tools on the market that help to solve this problem and I have listed some of these on the Gutter Cleaning Tools page.

     

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        You will need a bucket to put the debris in, and some way of hooking this bucket to your ladder.

      • This is to ensure you have both of your hands free, one to hold the ladder and the other to clear the gutters.

      • A "S" shaped hook can clip over the top ladder rung, or over a ladder stand off if you are using one, and this will hold your bucket for you.

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       Gutter clearing

       

      • Do not over reach, this is one of the main reasons for people falling from ladders when clearing gutters. Some of the tools that are available will enable you to reach further, but it is much better to move the ladders often and so stay safe.


      • Start at the downpipe, look into it to see if it is blocked.

       

      If it is you have 2 choices, either use something like a wire coat hanger, and push it down the pipe until the blockage is clear. Or you will need to take the top section of the downpipe off.

      If you intend to take this downpipe section off, check first to see if it is screwed together, if not, it should just slip out with a bit of persuasion. Then knock the gutter section on the inside of your bucket and the blockage should come free. Then replace the section, and work along the gutters removing the debris.

      • You will find that it is not possible to remove all of the debris by using your fingers, to leave the gutters totally clean, you can rinse them out by using a hose-pipe with a spray attachment. This is a good way of testing whether any of the down-pipes are blocked and of checking for any leaks from the joints.

       

       

      (2) How to clear gutters by using a pressure washing lance


       

      • If you do not have a pressure washer, you can rent them for a week-end quite reasonably. But it is important to make sure the rental company has extendable pressure lances that will reach up to your gutters.

      • You might need a dustbin to act as a reservoir tank, if your water pressure is not very high.To do this you would place a hose pipe into the dustbin and allow it to fill up, then place the feed pipe from the pressure washer into the dustbin.

      • You will certainly need an old set of clothes or a pair of water-proofs, as gutter cleaning this way can be quite messy.


      • Before starting, it is best to disconect the down-pipes and divert them away from your drains, so that the debris does not block up your drain.


      • When using these telescopic lances, it is best to use a support belt that helps to take the weight of the lance and also helps to control the whip when you apply the pressure.


      • Start by pressure washing the inside of the down-pipe, to make sure that it is not blocked, then work your way backwards from the top of the down-pipe.Work in 3 foot sections and rinse back to the down-pipe.


      • When you have completed the whole section, you may well need to rinse off the side of the house, if there has been a good deal of over-spray.

       

      (3) How to clear gutters by using a wet and dry vacuum cleaner

      • Again, if you do not have one of these you can rent them for the week-end. You will need a twin or triple vacuum model, they can be 240 volt / 110 volt or petrol driven.


      • Check that the rental company has vacuum tubes that will reach to your guttering, and that they have different size end nozzles to cope with different size gutters or gutters that are very close to the roof tiling.


      • If using an electric model, make sure you have a RCD switch to protect you from any short circuiting.


      • Start from the down-pipe to make sure it is not blocked, and work your way backwards in 3 foot sections. The vacuum tubes are see through, so you will be able to see when there is no more debris being picked up.


      • The debris is contained in sacks within the vacuum cleaner and therfore can easily be disposed of.



      For tips on gutter cleaning check out the Gutter surface cleaning page.

       




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