DIY : Your Gutters and Trees – Praveen Chaparala – Medium

Rain gutters are extremely important when it comes to protecting your home from water damage by directing rainwater flowing off your roof into downspouts that lead to a drainage area. Without rain gutters to channel off the excess water, heavy downpours can easily cause severe damage to flowerbeds, landscaping, lawns, siding, and windows. However, if you want your rain gutters to work properly, they need to be kept free of all kinds of debris, especially leaves and tree branches. This can be challenging when your home is surrounded by trees.

Granted, trees are extremely beneficial in that they emit oxygen into the air around us, provide shade, and reduce summer cooling costs by keeping the sun’s heat off of our homes. It follows then that trees which are in close proximity to a house can also pose a problem during fall when the leaves are shedding and the winds begin to blow. Leaves accumulate in rain gutters quickly and strong winds can break branches off which further compounds the issue.

Prior to clearing and washing out your rain gutters and downspouts, you should check to see if your trees need trimming. Obviously, you don’t want to do this after you have gone to the trouble of cleaning your rain gutters and downspouts. Whatever trimmings fall on the roof should be removed before they have a chance to further clutter your rain gutters. However, there will be branch cuttings and leaves to contend with when cleaning out your gutters.

When rain gutters and their downspouts become clogged with branches, dirt, and leaves, they cannot function properly. Eventually, when rain water runs into them off your roof, the water cannot travel towards the downspouts and drain off. It floods the rain gutter and begins to overflow rather than drain off. This inevitably results in damage to your home and your rain gutters as well. The cost of repairing that water damage can run in the hundreds or even thousands of dollars. So to protect your home, you have to clean them regularly.

To clean your rain gutters, you only need three things — gloves to protect your hands, a ladder tall enough to see above your rain gutters, and trash bags. You might want to consider protective goggles for your eyes as well. Once you have removed all the branches, leaves, and other debris that you can by hand, you will probably want to hose them out in order to flush the dirt that may be remaining in them. Be sure to use a high pressure nozzle and open up the water valve all the way to create the most pressure.

Start from the corners and wash the debris towards the downspouts. If there is any stubborn debris remaining after this initial washing, use a wire brush to remove it and then rinse down the rain gutter again. This will ensure that your rain gutter is totally free and clear of any debris that could hinder water drainage. Once your rain gutters are clear, wash out the downspouts by flushing them directly with the hose and power nozzle. Continue this until clear water is flowing out of the drain. For all practical purposes, your work is done and you can relax until it’s time to address this issue again.

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