By: Dalton Dubetz
Eavestroughs are an integral part of protecting your home's roof, siding, and foundation because they guide water away from your home, but only if they are clear of debris.
Leaves and debris building up in your eavestroughs can create a clog which can allow water under the roof and into the foundation. In the winter these clogs can lead to ice dams which can tear the eavestroughs off of your home, loosen the shingles on your roof, and leak water into your foundation.
To avoid clogged Eavestroughs and their potential harm, it is recommended that homeowners clean their eavestroughs at least yearly, although it is suggested to clean them twice per year (in the spring and fall).
While there are companies available to clean your eavestroughs, it is a very doable task for a homeowner with a DIY attitude.
To clean your eavestroughs yourself you will first need to make sure you have all of the necessary supplies to do so.
An extendable ladder ideally with standoffs/ladder horns
Long-sleeve shirt to help protect your arms from metal and debris
Rubber gloves to protect your hands from metal and debris
Bucket or bags to collect the debris you remove from the eavestrough
Gutter Shovel or children’s sand shovel to scoop up large pieces of debris
A hose to flush the eavestroughs out at the end
A friend to help stabilize the ladder and lend a hand when needed.
With these supplies in tow, it is time to clean your eavestroughs!
For starters, you will set the ladder up at the furthest point from the downspout and work toward rather than away from it. A ladder with stabilizers is recommended as to not lean on and damage the eavestroughs.
Once the ladder is stabilized (having a friend helps!) it is time to climb up and start cleaning.
Use your gutter shovel (a children's sand shovel works great too) to start scooping larger debris into your bucket or bags, working your way towards the downspout.
Once all of the large debris has been removed, have your helpful friend pass you a hose and flush out the eavestroughs.
Flushing the eavestroughs will remove any remaining debris that was left behind previously.
There should be a steady flow coming from the downspout. If there isn’t, your downspout may be clogged.
To unclog your downspout, first detach it from any underground drainage system to make sure the block isn’t just being pushed further down.
Aiming the hose upward into the spout, turn the water to full pressure.
If a hose is unable to remove the clog in the downspout, you may have to use a plumbing snake which can be rented from a local hardware store.
Once the downspout is clear of the blockage, reattach it and flush the eavestroughs again to ensure a steady flow and clear path.
Flushing your eavestroughs this final time will not only reassure you that you have cleaned them properly, but will also expose leaks or cracks in the eavestroughs which can then be repaired.
If no leaks or cracks are apparent, your job is done!
However, if there is a leak or a crack in your eavestroughs it will need to be repaired to prevent damaging your home.
Bead Silicone Sealant is highly recommended for filling small cracks or leaks in your eavestroughs, just make sure to clean out the old caulking and apply the sealant to a DRY surface to ensure results.
If cleaning your eavestroughs has been put off for a while, this may have been a bit more difficult than imagined; however, the work you have put in today will make it that much easier the next time your eavestroughs need to be cleaned out.