Most homeowners dread the time of year when they have to clean their gutters. It’s a boring and dirty project, but it’s one that must be done. Your downspouts are an important part of your gutter system, so it’s important that you do not overlook them during your spring and fall maintenance. Below, you will find five tips to make cleaning your downspouts simpler and far more effective.
#1 – Trim Back Tree Limbs
Trimming back your tree limbs regularly so that they do not overhang your roof is one of the absolute best ways to make gutter and downspout cleaning much, much simpler. When there’s nothing overhanging your roof, there will be far less debris. This includes leaves and small twigs, animal droppings, acorns, and other common things you might find rolling down the roof and into the gutter.
#2 – Install a Gutter Guard
If trimming your trees is not an option, or if you want an added layer of protection, you should also consider installing a gutter guard to keep debris out of your gutters and downspouts. These come in a wide variety of styles, materials, colors, and sizes so that every homeowner can find the perfect solution, no matter what the situation might be. Some are designed to keep out only large debris, but others can prevent pine needles and even tiny pieces of stone from finding their way into the system.
#3 – Install a Filter at the Top of the Downspout
Aside from trimming trees and installing gutter guards, you might also choose to install filters at the points where the downspouts meet the rest of the gutter system. These are much like small pieces of the screen just large enough to cover the downspout opening, but they can help a great deal and make the process of cleaning your downspouts even simpler than before.
#4 – Take the Downspout Off
Even if you follow steps one and two above, you will need to clean your downspouts thoroughly from time to time. This chore can be especially difficult for homeowners who choose to leave the downspouts attached to their homes. Removing the downspout is an excellent way to spot and remove any debris that may be trapped inside. It is not a difficult process, and most of today’s most popular gutter materials – including aluminum and vinyl – are lightweight enough that anyone can do it.
#5 – Call a Professional
If you’re a busy homeowner who has very little time to perform gutter maintenance on a DIY basis, it may be worth your while to contact a professional to provide gutter cleaning services on your behalf. The frequency with which you will need to clean your downspouts will vary based on factors like the amount of debris that finds its way into the gutters and the preventative measures you’ve taken, but with trimmed limbs and a good gutter guard in place, once or twice each year should be sufficient.
Cleaning downspouts is no one’s favorite chore, but it can be made simpler by following the five tips above. Trimming your trees, installing gutter guards and filters, and taking the downspout down for cleaning can all make the process easier. You can even call a professional for service if you so choose; many contractors, roofers, and others in your area are sure to provide gutter cleaning, maintenance, inspection, and repair services.