Fall has arrived in the Pacific Northwest. If you haven’t already gotten around to it, this is a great time to clean your gutters and downspouts and get them ready to handle the winter rains. It may be ideal to remove debris when it is dry but in our neck of the woods, that is not always an option!

There are many companies that offer gutter cleaning and this is certainly a great option. However, if you are able and willing to perform this job yourself, it can be done in an afternoon.

cleaning time!

Although not a difficult job, gutter cleaning can require a little preparation and planning. A few items that may be helpful are a ladder, a container to collect the leaves in, and something to scoop the leaves up with like a trowel.

First, decide how you are going to collect the leaves. You can use a bucket or you could just scoop and drop the leaves onto a plastic tarp placed on the ground. When either gets full, just dump the leaves into your compost bin or yard waste receptacle. If you are using a bucket, make sure it does not get too heavy. Use your judgment and keep safety in mind when on the ladder.

Once the gutters are cleared of debris, next make sure the downspouts are cleared BEFORE you rinse the gutters. To check the downspouts, take a hose and place it into the downspout. Have a helper turn on the water and check for downspout flow. If it’s clogged try these steps to clear it out:

  • Pack the downspout opening around the hose with a rag sealing the hose tight.
  • Turn on the water pressure as hard as it will go, looking for the clog to clear and water to flow freely from the bottom of the downspout.
  • If the clog persists you’ll have to clear it. Remove the hose and manually clear the clog using a plumbing snake. Feed the snake from the top of the downspout until it hits the obstruction which is usually at the point of a curve.
  • Once you think you have it cleared, test for flow with a hose.

When you are sure the downspouts are cleared, rinse the gutter and downspout system to flush it. Use a hose supplying water at the farthest gutter section from the downspout opening. Repeat in each section, proceeding around the house until all sections are rinsed and flushed.

And while you are outside, check your ductless heat pump condenser for leaves. Clear any debris from the unit and make sure the fan blades are unobstructed. This will keep your unit working optimally through the winter months.

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