A man and a woman clean gutters.
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How to clean your gutters

4 minutes

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Clearing blocked gutters means the rainwater that falls down your roof can flow away from your walls and into the drains around your home. Here’s everything you need to know about cleaning your gutters. 

  • Keeping your gutters clear allows rainwater to  flow into drains
  • You can unblock drains from the ground or up a ladder 
  • If you can’t clean them yourself, get in touch with a professional 
 

Gutters are essential for your home, especially when rainy weather arrives. When rainwater flows down the slope of your roof, it reaches your gutters, which then send the water down to a drain. This means that water is kept away from your walls, where it could seep in and cause damage. 

Why do gutters need cleaning?

Put simply, to keep the outside drainage system of your home working, you need to clear your gutters. If your gutters become blocked, rainwater can overflow and run down the walls of your house.

This is when you can encounter problems, because water can seep into your home through wall cavities and gaps in brickwork, which could cause damp and mould.

This can damage your home’s structure if it’s not stopped early on and will cost a lot of money to repair too. It’s also worth knowing that your home insurance may not cover you for damage caused by damp and condensation,making repairs even more expensive. 

You may also not be covered if water damage is caused by you not cleaning your gutters often enough, so it’s essential that you check what your home insurance covers.

How often should gutters be cleaned?

That depends on:

  • Whether you have trees close by your home
  • How often it rains where you live
  • The season or time of year
  • How old your house is

As a minimum, you should check your gutters twice a year - once after autumn and once after spring. If the weather is particularly bad throughout the year, you should check on them three or four times – just in case there’s more debris than normal.

If there are lots of trees around your home, leaves are likely to fall around autumn time. These can get into your gutters, causing a blockage that needs clearing. 

The same goes for when spring arrives, as there's likely to have been a gathering of debris and dirt from winter that needs clearing out. Plus, there’s more rainfall, on average during this season, so making sure you have free-flowing gutters is important.

If your house is getting on in years, it’s best to not only check if they need cleaning, but also that there’s no cracks or damage.

 
 

What tools do you need? 

Thankfully, gutter cleaning doesn’t require any specialist equipment, so you’ll likely have most of these tools lying around your garage or shed. 

First, you’ll need some safety equipment:

  • Safety goggles or glasses
  • Shoes with a good grip
  • Gardening gloves

Next, your cleaning tools. These will depend on whether you’re cleaning your gutters from the ground or while up a ladder.

Tools when cleaning from the ground

  • Pressure washer and  hose
  • Telescopic pressure washer pole
  • Outdoor broom 

Tools when cleaning from up a ladder

  • Ladder
  • Ladder stand off
  • Handheld gutter cleaning tool
  • Pressure washer and hose
  • Bucket of water 

Finally, you’ll need a bucket to gather up all the debris, leaves and moss that you’ve removed from your gutters.

How do I know if my gutters are blocked or damaged?

There are a few tell-tale signs to look out for.

Water running down outside walls – when it’s raining outside, check whether water is running down your walls and leaking into your home. If it is, there’s likely to be a blockage that’s causing your gutters to overflow which needs clearing.

Leaking gutter joints – if there’s water pouring from a part where sections of your gutters are connected, then they could be loose or cracked. In this case, they may need repairing, rather than cleaning.

Gutters sagging – should any parts of your guttering look uneven or are visibly sagging, this could be due to extra weight from a blockage that needs cleaning. After it’s cleaned, the screws may need retightening to stop further sagging and overflowing.

Damp or mould in your property – blocked gutters may not be the sole cause of this, but if mould or rot is spreading on the walls of your home, then it could be due to water getting in because of blocked gutters.

Cleaning gutters from the ground

  1. Grab your pressure washer and attach the extension pole to it. Then, connect your washer to your outside tap and turn it on.
  2. Start at one side and point the pressure washer into the gutter, towards the side that you're going to finish on.
  3. Continue along until you’ve reached the other end and cleared all debris – you should be able to see this on the pavement below.
  4. Use your bucket and broom to sweep up and gather all the debris together. You can dispose of this in your garden waste bin.
  5. If you want to inspect how clean your gutters are, you will need to climb a ladder to check it by hand – and perhaps do some extra clearing.

Using a ladder

  1. Attach your ladder stand to the top of the ladder before you put it up, this will keep it off the wall, giving you more room to clean.
  2. Place your ladder against a wall and make sure both the feet are on a stable, level surface. Do not place them on grass or a slope, as this could cause it to slip while you are working.
  3. Take your handheld tool, pressure washer and/or bucket and climb the ladder. Please do not climb onto your roof at any time, this can be very dangerous as you could fall.
  4. Start at one end of your guttering and slowly work your way along to the end. Use your handheld cleaning tool to pick up pieces of debris and put into a bucket. Never over-reach while doing this, take your time and come down the ladders to move them along when you need to.
  5. Once the debris is cleared, use your pressure washer to clean any excess or use a bucket to pour water along the gutter to wash this away.
If there are lots of trees around your home, leaves are likely to fall around autumn time. These can get into your gutters, causing a blockage that needs clearing.

When should you call a professional?

Sometimes, it’s best to get a professional gutter cleaner in if the job is a little too big to handle on your own. Calling a professional cleaner might be best if you’re:

  • Elderly or physically unable to clean the gutters yourself
  • Living in a property that is more than two-storeys high
  • Uncomfortable with heights or climbing ladders
  • Your gutters haven’t been cleaned for several years

Also, if you’re planning on deep cleaning your gutters, it’s not recommended to ever climb onto your roof to do so – leave this to a professional gutter cleaner. 

According to MyBuilder, the average price you’ll be charged for cleaning is £4 per metre of gutter. Some firms might have a minimum fee, even if you only have a small amount of guttering – this is usually around £40. They might also cost extra if your gutters are hard to access or reach. 

Don't forget to keep your home covered with home insurance from LV=.

All content is approved by our in-house advisory board of experts.

LV= is not responsible for content on third party websites. 

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