Cleaning Gutters, Downspouts, Winterizing (gutters)

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Gutters, Downspouts & Winterizing

Submitted by Lorene Bartos, UNL Extension Educator

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Fall is definitely here. The cool weather is here and yards are filled with leaves. It is also the time when many families are decorating for the holidays. When you are putting up the lights it is a good time to check the gutters for leaves and other debris. If the gutters and down spouts are plugged water damage can occur in the home. If water stands in the gutter, overflows or spills over the gutter edge, or leaks from the gutter or down spout, you may have a plugged gutter. Take time to check the gutters before problems occur.

Inspect and clean gutters and down spouts at least twice a year-once before the start of winter and again in late spring. Check all gutter hangers for tightness. Check the gutter outlet opening where the water flows into the down spout. Repair any areas that leak or may have rusted.

Remember safety when you are cleaning gutters, working on the roof or putting up decorations. Use a sturdy ladder long enough to reach the highest point. It is best to have someone watching when you are working in high area. If you cannot do the job safely or do not have the skills or tools to do so, consider having a professional clean and repair your gutters. Now that the gutters are clean and repaired you can decorate for the holidays.

Outside decorating should be done before the ice and snow appear. It is much easier and safer to have this done ahead of time. Be sure to check all strings of lights to see they are working before hanging them. This will save time and energy. By doing this task when the weather is good you can be ready to flip the switch to light up for the holidays and save yourself lots of frustration and stress.

Use indoor and outdoor lights that have been tested for safety. Check all light sets, new and old, for broken or cracked sockets, frayed or bare wires, or loose connections. Use no more than three standard-size sets of lights per single extension cord. Automatic lighting timers can be used to ensure lights are not left on.

This is also the time to winterize your home. Have you taken care of your patio furniture? Are your garden hoses put away for the winter? If you are finished mowing for the year, have you prepared your mower for winter storage? Put these tasks on the top of your to do list.

Remember safety when cleaning or decorating.

Ask Lorene

(This resource was updated November 2008 and appeared in the Lincoln Journal Star Newspaper Sunday edition. For information on reproducing this article or using any photographs or graphics, read the Terms of Use statement)

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