By reading this, you consent to use this information at your own risk. Use your head. Be safe. If you cannot be safe, by all means, find someone who can do the job safely.
If water is overflowing your gutters and going into your basement now, see Flooding Basement Emergency Procedures.
To clean gutters, you need to look at the job first:
Writing down your job is the first step in doing it right. Here's a typical write-up:
25 feet of 5K South gutters at 10 feet with nothing overhead. 10 feet around base
25 feet of 5k North gutters at 10 feet with decidious trees overhead.
25 feet of 5k gutter wrapped around porch roof
Downspouts: 1 on SE corner of house, 1 on NE corner of house, 1 on NE corner of porch
It's good to ask yourself questions now instead of later. These are all questions I've asked myself durin g my years of cleaning out gutters.
Tall gutters require larger extension ladders. Larger e
Since gutters are at the roof edges, and roof edges are often 8-32 feet high, safety becomes the number one consideration when cleaning out gutters. I've heard that even a fall from 6 feet is possible to result in a death or serious injury. Many home owners won't clean their gutters (and rightly so) because exetension ladders set against gutters will slide on the gutter and can cause falls. Even if you level the two feet of the ladder and place the top around a gutter fastener, it is still not very stable. Ladder arms solve this huge problem. And the great thing is that they typically cost about $25!
I used extension ladders exclusively for my gutter cleaning. They allowed the greatest flexibility to adjusting to various gutter heights. And on my ladders, I used "ladder arms". They are sold by Home Depot or Lowes or many general hardware stores. Ladder arms are my biggest recommendation for home-owners cleaning out their gutters. And when you call a gutter cleaner, ask them if they have ladders arms on their ladders.
What are ladder arms? Ladder arms mount to the top section of extension ladders (the ladders that have two parts that slide to different lengths). Ladder arms are fastened by square U-bolts to the rails of the ladders and around the top rung. Ladder arms prevent the ladder from sliding completely closed (like when you didn't have them installed). The great things about ladder arms is
Many times gutters will overflow during a rain and this is when home-owners notice they need the gutters cleaned. At a time like this, a preventative stop-gap measure is needed. This means locating the area where water is overflowing the gutters, finding the closest downspout, and cleaning out up to 3 feet of gutters on both sides (of the downspout). This clears up the downspout opening (called the "outlet" or "downspout outlet") to allow water to drain the gutter and go down the downspout into the drain.
If clearing the downspout outlet and the immediate vicinity doesn't work, then the gutters need to be cleaned out (moving towards the overflow area) until the overflow stops.