🕑 4 minutes read

How can I unblock gutter

Looking up from ground level towards the roof of the house we can clearly see the guttering, but not what might have settled inside. Usually, an indication that the guttering needs cleaning is when you spot the guttering sagging (in places) or water spilling over the sides. If you do, think back to when it was last cleaned out, was it a few months or several years ago? If the latter then it’s time for you to investigate. Any moss deposits on your roof tend to dislodge and fall into the gutter causing a blockage.

Gutters are basic in design, virtually maintenance-free but wholly effective. The odd joint may come unclipped but apart from that, they are trouble-free. That is until you recognize overspills and water streaks down a wall.

Cleaning out gutters is a simple job. However, there is a high risk to consider – you will be working above ground level. If you have a head for heights all well and good, if not then call the professionals, it’s really not worth risking your safety for the sake of a few pounds!

However, if you are a keen DIYer and believe it’s within your capabilities then here are a few tips to bear in mind when cleaning the gutters is on your ‘To Do’ list.

Contact us for gutter repair service.

Gather a few tools

To begin with, make sure you have the following items to hand before climbing the ladder:

  • Rubber Gloves
  • A ladder of appropriate design that can extend to beneath the guttering – don’t rest the ladder on the guttering as it can cause a section to become unclipped.
  • A bucket to collect the debris.
  • A water jet with a long enough hose – the nozzle and hose can hang over a rung on the ladder.
  • A drum auger or a few drain rods joined together in case you have to rod the downpipe.
  • A sturdy bristle brush to remove any obstinate debris attached to the guttering

Take safety precautions

Tools at the ready it’s now time to check your ladder is positioned safely. Also, we recommend you attach a ladder stay to the ladder (left). This keeps you away from the wall and helps with gutter accessibility.

To complete the task safely, do not over-extend the ladder and check the angle is not greater than 75 degrees. Non-skid legs, and stabilizers to maintain balance on uneven surfaces. As an extra safety measure have somebody foot the ladder. Make sure the ladder is long enough to prevent overreaching.

Debris removal

Among many methods, the first and easiest, but a bit mucky, is to just scoop the muck out and into the bucket (attached to the ladder with a hook).

  • There is no need to climb on the roof as this is dangerous. Besides, you should be able to remove the muck from the ladder without the need to go higher.
  • Clean any leaves from around the downpipe. This is important as this pipe takes the water away to drain.
  • Scoop all the muck into the bucket. You will need to reposition the ladder as you traverse the gutter run. A length of cord tied to the bucket handle allows you to lower the full bucket to the ground. A colleague/family member can empty the bucket for you. Pull up the cord with the empty bucket attached and continue.
  • Once the gutter is cleaned, next check the downpipe. If it is blocked use the flexible drain rods (coupling a few together) feed it down the pipe. When the rod stops, you’ve hit the blockage. With a vigorous rodding action clear the blockage. Even if it’s packed with wet leaves they can be removed quite easily with this method.
  • With more stubborn blockages you may have to repeat the above steps at ground level. Providing the drain rods are flexible enough to move freely into the bottom of the downpipe, enabling you to attack the blockage from both ends. You may have to use this technique more than once until the blockage is removed.
  • With the pressure, the hose washes the guttering and then concentrate on the downpipe. If the water backs up into the gutter the blockage is still there, give the downpipe another rodding (see above). The water should flow freely to drain when all debris has been removed.

Impossible to remove blockages

It’s unlikely, but if the blockage is solid and will not budge after using the above method, then there are times when the downpipe has to be replaced with a new section of pipe.

That’s pretty much it. These two simple but effective methods are all it takes to clean a blocked gutter/downpipe. Just follow the above steps to keep your guttering in tip top condition.

The challenge is working above ground level and keeping safe, not the job itself. However, to minimise the times you have to do this please read our guide on how to keep your guttering in good condition. Let’s hope you find it helpful!