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Guide to caring for your guttering

Blocked or damaged gutters bring a whole host of potential problems. As well as leaks leaving unsightly stains on the exterior walls, dripping gutters can lead to dampness in your home too. Fortunately, caring for your guttering is simple and easy to do.

Caring for your guttering in three easy steps

Cleaning the guttering is straightforward but you’ll need to make sure that all the elements of the guttering are cleaned and repairs made if needed.

Step 1 – Clear out debris from the guttering

Place your ladder at the lower end of the guttering because this is where debris will more than likely collect as rainwater running off will lead to it gathering here. Use a narrow garden trowel or a gutter scoop to remove the loose debris – this can be anything from sticks and seeds to soggy leaves – and place it in a bucket ready for the compost.

As the debris gathers, it traps water which is then dried by the sun. This is a cycle that happens many times over, leading to the pile of debris becoming encrusted and more problematic to move.

Step 2 – Use a hosepipe to clean the guttering interior

You may find other pockets of debris across the gutters which you should also remove if it’s safe to do so. Always consider your safety first. If it’s safe to reach from a ladder, make sure the ladder has a secure footing.

Using a hose, swill the guttering to remove any smaller pieces of debris. A hosepipe with a high-pressure on-off mechanism works well for this. Direct the water to run along its normal path – toward the downpipe section.

If the gutters haven’t been cleaned in a while, there will be a lot of splashback from mud and dust in the guttering. Use a lower pressure at first so as not to splash the roof and walls with the dirty water.

Step 3 – Check the downpipes

The downpipe is the column through which the rainwater drops into the sewer system beneath your property. However, many more homeowners are enjoying the benefits of water butts connected to downpipes because, as @GreenRedeem point out, rainwater is 100% ideal for plants.

However, they can become blocked and that means forcing the blockage from the downpipe in a way that doesn’t damage it – or the rest of the guttering. Use a high-pressure hose from the top of the drainpipe to push the blockage downwards. If this doesn’t work, a plumber’s auger or ‘snake’ can help to loosen the blockage. Try this from the bottom first, followed by the high-pressure hose.
Don’t be overly forceful trying to loosen a blockage. Whole downpipes and guttering sections have been known to break free from their fixings, resulting in a larger bill for guttering cleaning than first thought!

Why maintaining guttering is important

The guttering on your home performs an important function. Every guttering system should quickly and effectively carry rainwater away from the exterior of your property. Guttering maintenance is simple, but effective.