HOW TO UNBLOCK A GUTTER

Downpipes and gutters can block up with leaves, twigs and mud and the first you’ll know about it will be when gushing, over-spilling water during a heavy downpour reveals the problem. Neglect to clean these essential drainage systems and you’ll risk damp seeping in, damaging the walls or the roof.

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Hoppers (protective coverings with holes that allow rainwater through while keeping debris out) or balled up chicken wire can be fixed over the top of downpipes to stop blockages from happening.

If the blockage is in the downpipe, a drainage rod, which is available from DIY outlets and hardware stores, can be fed into the downpipe and manipulated to clear debris. A stiff piece of wire can work on an angled pipe.

For gutter cleaning, most first-floor gutters are accessible with a household ladder and can be cleaned out by hand using strong rubber gloves, followed by hosing with water if possible. Sometimes it’s also possible to access a gutter from a window above. A telescopic golf ball retriever makes an inexpensive tool for scooping up rotten foliage and other detritus in these circumstances.

Call in a professional for any height over one storey; many window cleaners also offer gutter clearance as a service.

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