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5 Tips for Cleaning Gutters After the Winter

Now that we are fully into springtime and winter is behind us, you’re probably thinking about home maintenance projects. There is plenty to do after the harsh weather has taken its toll. One of the most important projects is to take care of your gutters. With some helpful tips for cleaning gutters, you can tackle this chore with ease.

No matter the season, your home deserves some TLC. One of the best ways to care for your house is to be sure you have adequate homeowners insurance. The friendly agents at Lake Region Insurance Agency can help. Stop by any of our Greater Minnesota offices for a free insurance review.

When is the Best Time to Clean Gutters?

Gutter maintenance is unlikely to be high on your list of favorite activities. But it is a critical component of caring for your home. Fortunately, cleaning the gutters is not something you have to do frequently.

Typically, you should tackle this project every six months. Most homeowners choose to do this as part of their spring cleaning after winter is over. Cleaning out your gutters this time of year helps to keep them working well when the rains come.

On that schedule, you’d do another cleaning after summer ends. Again, you will be able to clear the gutters of leaves and other debris before winter weather arrives.

As is often the case with home maintenance, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Don’t let clogged gutters create problems for you at an inconvenient time.

The Cost of Neglect

Your home’s gutters have one job. They collect precipitation from a home’s roof to direct it away from the house’s foundation. This process protects your house’s roof, siding, and foundation.

As with any kind of pipe, gutters need to be free of obstructions and blockages to fulfill their function. When something blocks your gutters, rainwater can accumulate and overflow. 

Where does the water go when it overflows? It goes to the very place you want it to avoid: your home’s foundation. When water ends up near the foundation, it can seep into your basement or crawlspace.

This issue creates a domino effect of problems since water in the basement can translate into mold growth. And mold can require expensive remediation to keep you and your family safe. Furthermore, foundation repair isn’t cheap. Homeowners can easily spend $10,000 or more to fix damage to this part of their house.

So routine maintenance on your gutters is vital to saving yourself time and trouble in the long run.

Tips for Cleaning Gutters on Your House

When it’s time to handle this chore, there are some simple steps to follow. These tricks and tips for cleaning gutters will help you finish quickly so that you can enjoy the spring weather.

1. Let a Scoop Do the Dirty Work

If you’ve avoided cleaning your gutters because the job is gross and tedious, you’re not alone. Fortunately, there are some ways to streamline the task and minimize the “yuck” factor.

The debris that accumulates in your gutter tends to be organic material that decomposes, such as leaves. When this stuff begins to break down, it can congeal into a pretty gloppy mess. 

If scooping slimy matter out of a pipe with your hands doesn’t appeal to you, there’s good news. A plastic scoop cleans gutters efficiently and keeps your hands cleaner in the process.

Once you’ve eliminated the significant blockages, make sure you flush your gutters with a hose. This way, you can be sure you’ve thoroughly dislodged all foreign substances, big and small.

2. Be Smart About Ladder Safety

Ladder-related accidents account for about 300 deaths each year in the United States. So safety is critical during a gutter cleanout. To help keep yourself safe, follow some basic common sense steps:

  • Don’t use the ladder when you are all alone. Let someone know that you will be up there. Ideally, have another person on the ground to help keep the ladder stable.
  • Consider purchasing a ladder stabilizer for added safety, especially if you choose to work alone.
  • Make sure the ladder is tall enough for the job so that you can safely reach the gutters. Overreaching is one of the top causes of falls from ladders.
  • Follow all safety guidelines for your ladder.

3. Dress for the Job 

Gutter cleaning is a dirty job, so be sure to wear old clothes. Long pants and long-sleeved shirts give you the most protection. 

Gloves, a mask, and protective eyewear are also good ideas during this project. Debris can fly up at you as you work to dislodge blockages in the gutters. For ladder safety, be sure to wear sturdy shoes that will stay tied.

4. Have a Plan for the Debris

You might be wondering what you’re supposed to do with the gunk you scoop from your gutter. You don’t want to drop it on your yard or patio, or you’ll be doing double the work to clean it all up again.

Place a tarp below where you can drop all the debris. This step will make it simpler to gather and dump in with the yard debris. For smaller jobs, you could keep a bucket with you and empty it as it fills.

5. Consider Calling in the Pros

Do you have a bigger home or one that’s two stories or higher? Then one of the best tips for cleaning gutters is to hire a professional.

Although it requires an outlay of money, hiring a pro gets the job done quickly and safely. It also doesn’t force you to give up your sunny weekend to clean out the gutters. It’s a win-win!

Protect Your Home with Lake Region Insurance Agency

Your house is probably your most significant investment. Make sure you protect it with sufficient homeowners coverage. The Lake Region independent agents are here to serve you. From auto to life to homeowners insurance, our team can find just what you need.

Lake Region Insurance Agency has been serving the communities of Cokato, Willmar, and New London, MN, since 1970. Let our experience guide you as you choose the best protection for your home and property. Reach out today to get started.

 

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Why Is It Best to Work With an Independent Insurance Broker

Taking care of insurance is a necessary part of adult life, but finding the best deal can be a challenge. With so many options available, it may feel overwhelming to understand what you need. Working with an independent insurance broker is the best way to make the process easier and more cost-effective.

Lake Region Insurance Agency is proud to have independent agents to meet your insurance needs. We offer free reviews of the coverage you have and can help you fill in the gaps without confusion. Stop in at any of our Greater Minnesota insurance offices to get started.

What Is An Independent Insurance Broker?

As the name suggests, an independent agent works independently of a brand or company. So, rather than only selling policies from Allstate, for example, they have many different options to offer clients. This independence means they have access to a vast number of plans and are not bound to one company.

An independent broker can represent several insurance firms. This variety also allows them to provide services in a vast range of areas, from auto insurance to commercial policies and everything in between.

Advantages of An Independent Insurance Agent

Choosing an insurance agent without ties to one company provides many benefits:

1. You have many more options available.    

Many insurance companies specialize in a particular product or service, such as health insurance or auto insurance. This expertise means they have a strong knowledge of that niche but are unable to offer assistance on anything outside their specialty. 

An independent insurance agent has training in dozens of different products. This range gives them extensive knowledge and experience. Their customers can access a wide variety of products without having to go from brand to brand. 

Brokers have contacts and connections across the insurance industry. This choice means that you will have the chance to pick from a far more extensive range of products than if you remain with a particular company.

As well as accessing multiple insurance products in one place, independent brokers work with your best interest in mind. They do not have to worry about quotas and meeting the company’s demands to sell certain products. Instead, they can focus on getting the perfect policy or policies for what you need.

2. You will save time.

An independent insurance broker does the time-consuming work for you. They can swiftly search available plans that match your requirements. Their expertise makes quick work of a job that might take you hours and hours of online searching. Your time is highly valuable. Let an independent agent handle this task for you.

3. There is no extra charge for their expert help.

Some people have a mistaken idea that they have to pay the broker for their work. Independent insurance agents receive compensation from the companies, not from you. You do not have to pay extra for their service.

4. You can receive specialized insurance.

Some insurance needs fall into a niche. Areas such as critical illness protection or cyber liability insurance can be personal, lengthy, and complicated. In these areas, you may need to have coverage tailored to your exact needs. This level of detail can be hard to access when you are researching by yourself or using comparison tools. A broker will help.

A broker’s help is also great when you need to insure a high-value item, such as a piece of artwork or an antique. Experts in the industry will be able to help you purchase appropriate coverage with sufficient protection.

5. You will receive the best coverage for your needs.

Corporate insurance firms need you to purchase their policy. That is their business model. This plan means that they may not necessarily seek out a product that meets all your needs. The company’s sales goals generally come first, and this can be detrimental to customers.

An independent broker, however, has no such loyalties. They are not tied to any brand or company. Every quote or suggestion is in response to what you need, ensuring relevant policy results. You can analyze their proposals with trust and peace of mind. They take the time to learn about you and your situation to find the right fit.

6. You can save money.

The benefit of using an independent insurance broker is that they can see the big picture. They have access to a significant number of deals, policies, and offers, allowing them to find the best rates. 

Independent agents also can be sure they are comparing apples to apples as they help you shop for policies. They will make sure that property, liability limits and deductibles match up before showing you the different rates. Since they spend time getting to know what you need, they can find just the right policy at a competitive price. 

7. Get help with claims.

Using a broker to buy your insurance policy also helps to speed up the process if you need to make a claim. With just one call to your independent agent, the process will be underway. 

Filing a claim infers that you are already in a stressful situation. Your experienced broker can help relieve some of that worry. From navigating the initial report to submitting paperwork for settlement, an independent insurance broker can help you the whole way.

The Next Steps

If you are ready to shop for a new insurance policy, take advantage of the skills of a broker. Here at Lake Region Insurance Agency, we provide advice and assistance on a range of insurance types:

  • Auto
  • Home
  • Commercial
  • Life
  • Health

We have offices to serve you in New London, Willmar, and Cokato, MN. Our qualified team of experts is on hand to help you with all your insurance needs. Our neighbors and friends rely on us to provide excellent service, and it’s an honor to do just that.

Get in touch today for a free quote to see how we can streamline your insurance search. It doesn’t have to be stressful. We can take care of all the hard work for you and offer the most competitive rates. We’d love to get to know you.