Gutters and downspouts are an essential piece of a home’s well-being. They control the flow of rainwater to protect your roof, walls, and foundation. Clogged gutters can result in a leaky roof and water damage to the interior or exterior of your home. The rainy Spring season is quickly approaching in Saint Louis, making it time to get out of the house, and clean and check your home’s gutters and downspouts.

Ideally you gutters and downspouts should be cleaned and checked twice a year. Unsure when to do it? A general rule of thumb is to pair this maintenance task up with swapping out the batteries in your smoke detectors. One caveat, if your home has pine trees nearby, you may need to clean and check them on a quarterly basis.

Now that you know the why and when, to get started with cleaning, here is a supply list:

  • Ladder large enough to reach the gutters.
  • Protective clothing, like a long sleeve shirt and gloves
  • Bucket or Pail, to collect the gunk
  • Hammer, steel nails or screws, and caulk – for any small repairs
  • Garden Hose
  • Plumber’s Snake

Once you have all your supplies ready to go, start cleaning out the gutters, dumping the gunk into the bucket or pail. While cleaning out the gutters check for loose nails, or holes in your gutters. Use the hammer, nails or screws, and caulk to make small repairs. For larger repairs it might be time to call an expert. After the gutters have been cleaned and check flush water through them with your garden hose.

Now it is time check those downspouts. You may have already spotted a clogged downspout when flushing the gutters. This is where a plumber’s snake comes in handle. Insert the end of the plumber’s snake into the downspout until it meets resistance. Turn the crank and work it back and forth to loosen the clog. Insert the garden hose and flush out the debris. This is also a good time to ensure runoff is directed away from the home. If it isn’t consider extending the downspouts or adding splash blocks.

Want to take your cleaning one step further? Protect your foundation by walking the entire perimeter and remove any debris, like leaves, that may have collected. Removing debris will prevent water from pooling, pooling water can result in foundation issues.