It’s Spring and you know what that means…April Showers! If you live in an area that experiences a lot of precipitation like Charleston, this is a great time of the year to pay a little more attention to your gutters and downspouts. Though it can be a hassle, clearing your gutters of dirt and debris will help you avoid potentially costly drainage issues down the road.

Gutters2Not only will being proactive with your gutter cleaning assist with preventing problems like foundation or basement damage, routine cleaning (about twice a year) limits the chance of you having to call on the help of professional contractors for larger problems.

Safety Note: Cleaning your gutters should ideally be attempted on dry, rain-free days. Plus, you’ll want to be sure to wear footwear with good tread on the soles for traction. Taking both of these precautions will help reduce the risk of injury while using your ladder.

Here’s what you need to get started:
  1. Ladder
  2. Garden Trowel or Scoop
  3. Garden Hose w/ Spray Nozzle
  4. Utility Bucket
  5. Flexible Downspout Extension
  6. Screwdriver (perhaps both a Phillips and Flathead)

Gutters (1)

What You Need to Do

Climb your ladder with your bucket, garden trowel and garden hose. Be sure to climb high enough to see into the area of the gutter you’re clearing out. To free your hands a bit, hook the spray nozzle of your hose on a rung of the ladder as you scoop and clean. As you continue down the length of the gutters, you’ll need to head back down to dispose of any debris you’ve collected in your bucket as well as to move your ladder to the next section.

Once you’ve reached the area of the house where your downspout is, you can spray any small amounts of remaining debris down the spout. Then, place the hose directly over the the downspout to flush it out completely.

Note: You should be able to see water and debris flowing easily down toward your splash block below. If the water from the hose pools in your gutters, you may have a slopping problem. This may require you to call in a professional to help with a possible readjustment.

Installing a Flexible Downspout Extension

We wanted to include this task for those of you experiencing issues with the direction of water flowing from your gutters. A flexible downspout is a great option because it can be moved easily for a host reasons, namely, for yard maintenance and landscape purposes. To install, take your screwdriver and remove the downspout elbow that may be secured on at the bottom with screws. Then, simply take your flexible extension and fit it over the bottom portion of the downspout. Sizes of extensions may vary, so be sure and take measurements before you purchase yours. Adjust the direction of the extension to suit your needs.

This is one approach to gutter maintenance, however, we know there are many other options to consider. Do you use a leaf guard? Have any tips for other readers? Ever had to call in a contractor to assist with your drainage system? Share your experiences in the comment section below. We’d love to hear from you.