Cleaning out your guttering – hmm that sounds fun. Let's face it when it comes to DIY and property maintenance this little job is probably floundering near the bottom of the list.

But really it shouldn't be – its rightful place is near the top as it's one of the crucial exterior fittings checks that will help to reduce the risk that your property could suffer from water ingress, damage to your roof or damage to brickwork and foundations due to overflowing water.

A little planning is the order of the day so check the weather forecast and choose a dry day as dry leaves and debris are easier to remove that when it's wet. Spring, or Autumn after all the leaves have dropped, are usually the best times of the year but as the weather can be unpredictable never put this job off just because it's cold or winter.

Above all safety is paramount and if you don't like heights or working on ladders then hire a professional to do the job for you. The Health and Safety Executive provide guidelines on how to use ladders safely (http://www.hse.gov.uk/falls/ladders.htm#rightforthejob) and these are well worth reading before you start. If you do use a ladder have someone with you and don’t lean the ladder on the gutter as this may damage it or cause the ladder to slip.

Some tools that may help you include a trowel, bucket/bags, garden hose, gutter sealant for any small repairs and a pair of working gloves. And if you think your downpipe might be blocked then you will need a drainage rod.

Remove the large pieces of debris and leaves first and put these into the bucket or bags and lower it slowly to the ground ensuring that no one is below you at the time. Remove as much of the compacted dirt as you can and then flush the gutters using the garden hose.

Once your guttering is clear you may like to install a good quality gutter leaf guard. These are available from most DIY outlets or online. Or you could get a professional to do this for you.

These simple tips should help you clean out your gutters more easily, because when things go wrong and you need your property insurance, poor maintenance will be a factor in any claim you may make.
 

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