As the leaves change color and fall from the trees, prep your home for the winter months ahead. One of the most important—and often overlooked—tasks is cleaning your gutters. Clogged gutters can lead to many issues, including water damage, insect infestations, basement leaks, and structural problems. Using these tips and tricks, you can easily tackle gutter cleaning and prepare for colder weather.

1. Give Yourself Plenty of Time

Depending on the size of your home and the condition of the gutters, cleaning them might take hours or an entire day. Set aside enough time to get the job done. If you don’t have the time or tools to do it yourself, hire a professional gutter cleaning service.

2. Get Organized Before Gutter Cleaning

Before you even get started, have the tools you’ll need on hand. You’ll want a ladder (or two), gloves, a bucket, a garden hose, and a trowel or small shovel. Once you gather everything together, you’re ready to start clearing leaves and debris from your gutters.

3. Begin with the Downspouts

It may seem counterintuitive, but starting with the downspouts of your guttering will make the job more manageable. All the debris will eventually end up at that point anyway. So, by making sure the downspouts are clear, you ensure water can flow out of the guttering channels as you clean.

4. Use a Garden Hose

Once you’ve cleared out large debris like twigs and leaves, flush any remaining dirt with a garden hose. Start at the top of your gutter, and let gravity assist as you work your way down, rinsing the channels. If you notice areas that seem clogged, recheck them for leftover debris and focus on those spots until the water runs freely again.

5. Inspect for Damage After Gutter Cleaning

When gutters are clean, take a few minutes to inspect them for damage that may have occurred over the summer months. Look for cracks or holes in both the gutters themselves and the downspouts. If you find damage, repair it before winter arrives. Freezing temperatures can cause small cracks to worsen.

6. Clean Up

Clean up the debris from your guttering before calling it a day. Collect leaves and twigs that may have fallen on the ground while you were working. Gutter debris can go into the compost bin.

Cleaning your gutters may not be fun, but it’s worth taking time out of your busy fall schedule. Following these tips and tricks, you can easily remove debris from the guttering channels so they will effectively funnel rain and snowmelt away from your home.

Hearthstone Home Inspections provides inspection services in Rhode Island. If you’re buying or selling a home, contact us to schedule an appointment.