By Gene and Katie Hamilton
Step 1 : Position the ladder for safe footing as you work
Place the ladder on firm level ground and at a correct slope. Stand with your toes touching the ladder's feet and hold your arms straight away from you at shoulder height. Adjust the ladder so your hand rests on the rung that is at shoulder height.
Step 2 : Scoop out the debris from gutters
Climb the ladder to reach a comfortable position so you can reach the inside of the gutter. Wear rubber gloves and scoop out leaves, twigs, pine needles and any other debris and put it in a 5-gallon bucket. Use a painting hook to suspend the bucket from a ladder rung so you can easily dump the debris into it. Continue this process emptying out the bucket and moving the ladder along the side of the house until all the gutters are cleaned out.
Step 3 : Clean downspout elbows
Sometimes debris gets caught in the curved contour of the downspout elbows. Reach into it and dig out the debris. If you can't reach an obstruction inside, poke around with a stick or a piece of wire to snag and retrieve it.
Step 4 : Flush the gutters and downspouts with water
After removing the debris use a garden hose to run a flow of water through the gutters and downspouts. This helps to keep them clean, plus it shows how they're draining and if there's any leaks.
Step 5 : Install a diverter under the downspout
Place a downspout diverter under all downspouts to direct water away from the house.
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