My Home Inspector Blog: Home Inspection Tech Tips: How To Clean Your Rain Gutters

Home Inspection Tech Tips: How To Clean Your Rain Gutters

Home Inspection Tech Tips: How To Clean Your Rain Gutters-  Roofs cover a lot of square footage which means they catch a lot of rain water. If all that water is allowed to run off the edge of the roof, it could cause some serious problems for the home and it's foundation. Rain gutters should be mounted at the edge of all downward sloping roofs to catch all that water and move it away from the foundation. 

 

 

Unfortunately, gutters also catch a lot of leaves and debris. An annual cleaning is all it takes to keep this important system working properly. Although rain gutters near trees may have to be cleaned twice a year. Cleaning rain gutters requires working either on a ladder or from the roof. If you are not comfortable doing this, or have a two story home, you should hire a professional.

 

 

Three methods for cleaning rain gutters are: 

1. Scoop out the debris: If you choose to scoop out the gutters, you can buy a special scoop designed to fit inside a rain gutter. It is much easier than using your hands or a small garden shovel that doesn't quite fit. To keep the mess to a minimum, you can scoop into a bucket hung from your ladder.

 

2. Blow out the debris: If your roof has minimal pitch and you feel comfortable doing so, you can use a leaf blower from the roof to effectively clear the gutters of debris. This method will make quite a mess on the ground below, and you should wear a dust mask and goggles to protect yourself from flying debris.

 

3. Hose out the debris: I recommend using a hose with a pressure nozzle that you can turn on and off at the usage end. Wash out the gutters and make sure the downspouts are clear as well. If a downspout is clogged, you can use the hose (with the nozzle removed to avoid getting it stuck) by slipping the hose down the spout until you push out the clog.

 

 

Home Inspection Tech Tips: How To Clean Your Rain Gutters-  Steve Stenros- First Choice Inspections is a CREIA-certified inspector with the MCI designation. He is available for home inspection appointments in San Diego, Orange, and Riverside counties in southern California by calling 888-335-3040. Clients receive our free bi-weekly tech tips upon request.



 


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Comment balloon 21 commentsSteve Stenros • July 07 2011 12:42AM

Comments

Dear Steve,
I love the detailed "how-to" blogs for homeowners!
Gutters are a special case - ignored they are like an infected tooth - they can ruin the whole "system" of the house - letting in water and rotting wood -- generally bad citizens!
Have a happy Day 
Lynn

Posted by Lynn B. Friedman, Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers (Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty Call/Text 404-939-2727 Buckhead - Midtown - Westside -- and more ...) about 7 years ago

This job should be done by Mike Rowe on dirty jobs show. It's disgusting. Good post. 

Posted by Scott Seaton Jr. Bourbonnais Kankakee IL Home Inspector, The Home Inspector With a Heart! (SLS Home Inspections-Bradley Bourbonnais Kankakee Manteno) about 7 years ago

I'm amazed the developers here in southern CA are not required to install rain gutters, Lynn. Moisture intrusion issues are the #1 problem in my reports! Bad citizens indeed!

Posted by Steve Stenros, CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego (Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula) about 7 years ago

Scott: I agree! It is a disgusting job!

Posted by Steve Stenros, CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego (Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula) about 7 years ago

Good Morning Steve, another excellent post for home owners.  A great post to re-blog.  As always thank you for all the effort you put into them.

Posted by Dan Edward Phillips, Realtor and Broker/Owner (Dan Edward Phillips) about 7 years ago

Thanks for your comment, Dan! Appreciate the re-blog!

Posted by Steve Stenros, CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego (Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula) about 7 years ago

Too many people think the leaves just wash away in the next rain. They don't. They just sit there and compost and turn into sludge.

Posted by Robert Butler, Montreal Home Inspector | Aspect Inspection (Aspect Inspection) about 7 years ago

Robert: That's right. We've both seen plenty of gutters filled with sludge!

Posted by Steve Stenros, CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego (Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula) about 7 years ago

Steve,

Perfect timing! I need to clean my gutters again and I usually use the garden shovel that I use to plant my flowers, so I'll check the hardware store for that scoop that is designed to clean gutters. The hardest part for me is that I'm not tall enough to see what I'm scooping out so it becomes quite a challenge. I can't hire someone; otherwise I would. These are great tips!

Posted by Patricia Feager, Selling Homes Changing Lives (DFW FINE PROPERTIES) about 7 years ago

Joy! Joy! It's gutter cleaning time, Patricia! The special scoop should make it much easier for you! Have fun!

Posted by Steve Stenros, CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego (Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula) about 7 years ago

Steve - A great reminder that some homeowners simply don't think about.  After cleaning the gutters, it would be a good idea to install rain barrels and use that (infrequent) rainwater for the garden.

Posted by Steve Hall, Make the Call to Hankins and Hall (RE/MAX United) about 7 years ago

This is a great idea.  Giving homeowners tips like this.  They are going to be waiting for many more.

Posted by Jane Peters, Connecting you to the L.A. real estate market (Home Jane Realty) about 7 years ago

Steve: That's a great use of the run-off!

Jane: I'm glad you like them. I'll have more coming!

Posted by Steve Stenros, CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego (Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula) about 7 years ago

Steve:  I have had many home inspections where the inspector calls this out...and it's something that most people forget about!

Posted by Sidney Kutchuk - Realty Works Temecula Kutchuk - Realty Works Temecula, Realty Works Temecula (Realty Works Temecula) about 7 years ago

Jane: Yes! Out of sight, out of mind!

Posted by Steve Stenros, CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego (Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula) about 7 years ago

Steve - thanks for the scoop on the scoop. I didn't know you could buy a special scoop for gutters. Hmmm, too bad Father's Day is gone :)

Posted by Toni Weidman, 26 Years Selling Homes in New Port Richey, FL (Sailwinds Realty) about 7 years ago

Toni: He'll love you for it!

Posted by Steve Stenros, CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego (Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula) about 7 years ago

Steve, we need to clean ours but our husband does it.  I'll send him a link to this blog so he can get some good tips!

Posted by Trang Beuschlein, Campbell CA Real Estate - Campbell CA Homes for Sa (Homes for Sale in Campbell CA- Broker-BKR Realty) about 7 years ago

What?! My wife does ours, Trang! :)

Posted by Steve Stenros, CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego (Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula) about 7 years ago

Thanks Steve.  This is particularly important in our midwestern environment where clogged gutters can lead to icy gutter build-ups during the winter. 

Posted by Howard and Susan Meyers (The Hudson Company Winnetka and North Shore) about 7 years ago

Howard & Susan: And those gutters get mighty heavy when they're full of ice!

Posted by Steve Stenros, CREIA MCI, ICC, ACI Home Inspector,San Diego (Poway,La Jolla,Del Mar,Mira Mesa,Carlsbad,Escondido,Temecula) about 7 years ago

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