It’s not the most glamorous of jobs, but keeping a home’s gutter system clean is one of the more important steps in general upkeep. Why? The water that drains off of your roof during a rainstorm can damage your siding, windows doors, and foundations and even flood your basement – if not for the protecting embrace of your rain gutters.

Ignoring your gutters, though, is almost as bad as not having any. If gutters are not clear of leaves, debris, nests or other buildup, the water will create a “dam” situation and rainwater will overflow. So, grab a ladder, throw on some gloves, and up get up there – it’s time to clean your gutters!

Start scooping out loose debris once you’ve reached the top of your ladder. As you get comfortable with being at roof-level, only remove the most loose of objects – you don’t want to start yanking on debris that might be stuck in the gutters until everything easier-to-remove has been pulled. It is recommended to bring a bucket up with you, so you can pile the loose debris into an easy-to-throw away pile. Tip: debris is easier to remove when it’s damp.

It’s also important to check your drainpipes. You may need to blast out the pipes with a hose, or use a plumber’s “snake” to remove the hard-to-reach items. The pipes are an often-forgotten step in drain cleaning, as the water needs someplace to go after it flows through your newly-cleaned gutters!

Finally, get in the habit of blasting out your gutters with a hose. This is something you can do during the initial clean, after you’ve scraped away all of the loose debris; however, it’s also something you can do once a week to maintain the cleanliness of your gutters. Simply carry the hose with you as ascend the ladder, point it in one direction within the gutters, and spray away!

Remember, keeping your gutters clean is an easy way to maintain the quality of your roof, walls, windows and foundation.