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How to Clean Your Eaves Troughs



Maintaining Your Home’s Water Highways


Failing to clean the avenues that allow rainwater and snow runoff to reach the downspout can lead to gutter rusting and roof damage. The downspouts direct water away from the house foundation, reducing the likelihood of water damage, which is not usually an easy fix. In addition, the dead leaves stuck there will slowly decompose, leaving an unpleasant aroma and potentially staining the walls of the house. Cleaning out your home’s eaves troughs isn’t all that difficult or time-consuming and the benefits are tangible. You really only need to maintain them two to three times a year, and you can schedule this time in when the weather is mild i.e. do one cleaning in the spring and another in the summer.


Getting Ready


In order to get ready to clean your eaves troughs, you’ll need a pair of rubber gloves, a garden trowel, a ladder with stabilizers if possible, a bucket or bag with a handle and a biodegradable yard waste bag. While some people simply use the gloves to take out the gutter gunk, others like to follow that process by rinsing the troughs with a stream of water. Remember that the goal here is to ensure a clear pathway for water to travel, you don’t need to catch every pebble, just things that can majorly obstruct water flow.


The Cleaning Process


Have a friend or neighbour hold the base of the ladder while you’re completing this task. Begin at the place where the downspout or drain pipe begins. Look to see that nothing is blocking the opening of this passageway. Once you’ve cleared any obstructions, spray a stream of water down the pipe and have your ladder buddy check to see whether the water comes out onto the ground.


Continuing out from the drain pipe, use the garden trowel or your gloves to scoop out all those dead leaves and place them in the bag. Don’t try to get everything. Your aim is to clear the water route to the downspout. If you have the hose up there with you, you can follow with a spray of water. You’ll need to be moving the ladder regularly to do this safely. Don’t reach farther than you can safely, it’s just not worth it.  Watch for sharp metal objects. As you descend to move the ladder, transfer debris from the bag to the biodegradable yard bags you have so the bag doesn’t get too heavy while you’re up there.


Some find that they benefit from installing gutter toppers or screens, which ideally filter through only water while the leaves fall off the roof onto the ground. This could be something for you to look into if you have a vehement disdain for eaves trough cleaning.


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{ 1 comment… add one }

  • c.h.millar March 18, 2016, 8:51 pm

    We have been doing this for as long as we have had our home 60+ yrs and it works, don’t forget to throw the leaves into your green bucket

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