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Fall Gutter Maintenance Can Save You From Costly Repairs

gutterOne of the greatest joys of Autumn is taking in all that glorious Fall foliage. Unfortunately, one of the greatest headaches of Autumn is your gutters taking in all that glorious Fall foliage — leaving you to remove it. But cleaning leaves and other debris from your gutters is critical to avoid costly damage to your home. Gutter systems are designed to channel rainwater from the roof into downspouts and away from your home’s foundation. When debris blocks the gutters from doing so, water cascades down the side of the house and into the foundation which can cause mold and cracking leading to expensive repairs.

With that in mind, here are some tips to help you get those gutters cleaned quickly, easily, and safely:

-Use a step ladder when possible and position it on solid, level ground. Remember not to climb above the second to last step.

-If your gutters are too high for a step ladder, use a good quality extendable ladder. Standoff stabilizers (or ladder horns) can be attached to help keep the ladder from damaging the gutter.

-Wear latex gloves under work gloves to protect your hands from any dampness in handling wet, decomposing leaves.

-A regular garden trowel is an ideal tool for cleaning leaves and debris from gutter channels.

-For easy clean up, place a plastic tarp below your work area to catch the debris.

-Use a garden hose to flush remaining materials from the gutters/downspouts. This can also help you spot any leaks.

If the idea of getting up on a ladder is not something that appeals to you, hire someone to do the job. Depending on the size of your house, the cost can typically run anywhere from $50-$250.

Gutter covers are another option to prevent leaves from clogging gutters in the first place. The two most popular types of covers are clip-on grates and mesh screens. If you go this route, expect to pay around $6 to $8 per running foot, installed.