The bad weather in the UK has arrived for autumn this year, which will only see the Met Office continue to issue weather warnings for thunderstorms, heavy rain and strong winds.
As we bid farewell to summer, many people will be making sure any holes, blockages and other damage on the outside of their house has been fixed before winter comes.
With this in mind, Danielle Robinson, drainage expert at Toolstation, has urged Brits to make sure their gutters are clutter-free to avoid some of the worst situations.
Why is it important to clean gutters?
It might not be a glamorous job, but homeowners should be cleaning their gutters at least twice a year - or after a particularly wet spell.
Ensuring gutters are free from debris and leaves can prevent water damage to a home, which can be expensive and cause serious issues.
If water leaks through the walls or ceiling it can weaken a home's structure and cause mould, mildew, and even wood rot - so this needs to be avoided at all costs.
Danielle from Toolstation explained: “Clogged gutters can wreak havoc on your home.
“When gutters become blocked by leaves, debris and moss it can lead to leaky roofs, water damage and can even cause damage to the gutters and drainpipes.”
5 reasons why you should clean your gutters
Prevents water damage
“Gutters are designed to channel rainwater away from your home. If they become clogged with leaves, twigs, debris, or dirt, water can overflow and accumulate over time. This can lead to water damage, causing structural issues and potential flooding.”
Avoids roof damage
“Clogged gutters can lead to water pooling on the roof, which can cause damage to the roof fascia or tiles. This can result in damage to the roof insulation, mould and mildew build up, energy inefficiency and even structural issues which require costly repairs or replacement. Over time, this could lead to roof leaks. ”
Prevents pest infestations
“Gutters filled with dirt create an attractive environment for pests such as birds or rodents. These pests can cause damage to your home and pose potential health risks.”
Maintains the gutter system and extends lifespan
"Regular cleaning helps keep your gutter system functioning properly. If gutters are left clogged and overloaded, they can sag or pull away from the house, reducing their effectiveness and lifespan. Replacing damaged gutters could cots you upward of £900."
Improves the appearance of your home
“Clogged gutters with decomposing leaves and debris can be unsightly and reduce the kerb appeal of your home, particuarly if your gutters are so clogged that they have separated away from your roof or become damaged.”
How do I clean my gutters?
Danielle said: “If you feel comfortable and able to use a ladder, you can clean your gutters yourself. The easiest way to do this is by hand, so you will need a pair of work gloves, a bucket to collect any debris and a garden hose.
“It is vital that you take safety precautions when using a ladder. This means using a ladder with stabilizers and ensuring it is set up on a sturdy and flat surface so it isn't wobbling around. Additionally, ask a family member or friend to hold the ladder in place whilst you are working for extra safety.”
She added: “Once you can safely reach the gutters, you can begin scooping out any leaves, twigs or other debris using either a scoop or your hands (if wearing gloves).
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“Start at the downspout end of the gutter and work your way to the other end. Be careful not to overreach - if you feel you are leaning too much, it’s time to climb down and move the ladder along. Place the debris into a bucket or bag for easy disposal.
“You should then remove any clogs in the downspout by using the scoop or hose. After removing the large debris, use a garden hose to rinse away any remaining dirt and check the gutters are free-flowing.”
How to know if your gutters need cleaning
Danielle said: "If you have a clogged gutter, rainwater has nowhere left to go but overflow and potentially soak through your roof and leak into your home.
"If you look out of an upstairs window, you might see debris that has fallen onto an extension or conservatory, lower storey guttering, or even onto the ground below. It may also be visible from the ground if there is a blockage as debris could be sticking up over the edge of the gutter.
“However, a tell-tale sign of a blockage is to step outside when it is raining. If there is water running down the side of your house or water is overflowing over the side of the gutter, it’s likely you have a blockage.
“Additionally, a clogged gutter may separate away from the wall of the house due to being full of water.”
Danielle advises that when it comes to cleaning gutters, “safety is the main priority.”
She continued to say: “If you don’t feel comfortable with heights, have a health condition, or simply don't fancy the task of cleaning the gutters yourself, then it is best to call in a professional to ensure the job is done correctly and safely.”