As we head into the rainy months, it’s important to make sure your home is up to the job. First on the list should be cleaning your gutters. That’s right – it’s time to get your mind in the gutter!
Cleaning gutters isn’t the most fun task, but it’s an important part of your home maintenance. Blocked gutters can lead to blocked pipes, rainwater leaking into your ceiling and flooding, making a wet winter even more miserable. Cleaning your gutters regularly will also help prevent rusting, and extend their life.
Most house insurance policies require you to maintain your home – cleaning your gutters falls into this category. Imagine blocked gutters causing major damage, and then having your claim declined. That’s definitely something to avoid so here’s how to make sure your gutters don’t cause any trouble.
By their nature, gutters are up high. If you’re cleaning them yourself, it’s best to do it in dry conditions and follow the WorkSafe ladder safety guidelines. If you’re a bit nervous – particularly if you’re working from a multi-storey home – hire a professional.
- Don’t work in wet, icy or rainy conditions.
- Check the condition of your ladder – it should be secure and free of mould or moss that could cause you to slip.
- Keep your ladder on a level surface.
- Secure your ladder at the top and bottom.
- Make sure you have at least a metre of ladder above the work area.
- Keep three points of contact with the ladder at all times, such as both feet and a hand.
For more tips, check out the WorkSafe roof maintenance factsheet.
How to clean your gutter
It’s actually pretty easy to clean your gutter. Wearing some heavy duty gloves, pull out any leaves, debris and muck hanging around in there. You can buy tools to hang your bucket from to make it even easier, keeping one hand free to hold onto the ladder. Depending on the state of your gutters, you might need to use a scoop and brush to shift any stubborn muck before hosing them out.
If your roof is flat enough, in good condition and you’re careful, you can also clean your gutters from the roof. Just make sure you’re wearing non-slip shoes, and avoid leaning over the edge or working near power lines!
Making the job easier next time
The more often you clean your gutters, the easier the job can be. Once a year is normally enough – the best time is after the autumn leaves have fallen but before winter has settled in. If your home is in a particularly leafy area, six-monthly cleans might be better – or you could get a mesh shield to prevent leaves getting in there in the first place.