Cleaning of gutters should be one of the things every homeowner has to prioritize especially before winter sets in. Gutters get clogged with leaves, twigs and other debris which makes then ineffective in directing water to the right place during a downpour. In this guide, learn why and how to clean gutters the easy way.
Why you should clean your gutters
Proper cleaning of gutters come with the following benefits
- To prevent water damage: Blocked gutters allow water to overflow during a downpour thus damaging your foundation, garden and landscapes.
- Protect your roof: Water will pool on a surface when it has nowhere to run. Together with rotten debris, water will damage your roof and you will experience leakages when it rains
- Controls bugs and pests: Stubborn insects such as mosquitoes will hide and breed in your blocked gutters.
- It is good to your health: Blocked gutters can attract mold growth on your roof and other water logged areas in your home. This is a serious health hazard to your family members
- Reduces maintenance costs: Uncontrolled water from the roof of your structure can lead to expensive damages. This include damage to the gutters, your roof and ground surfaces.
How to clean gutters from the Ground
Proper cleaning of gutters is a very necessary yet an easy task that you can do it yourself or hire a professional service. If your building is not too high, you can safely clean your gutters without climbing a ladder using the following methods.
1. Pressure Washer
A pressure washer is an incredible cleaning machine you can use to clean your home exteriors including walls, fences, gutters and roofs. The strong pressurized blast of water will easily dislodge any debris clogging your gutters. To use a pressure washer, you will need an extension wand with roof cleaner nozzles so that you can clean the roof and gutters without need to climb a ladder.
Cleaning a roof using your pressure washer is not possible if your building is tall. Additionally, you will need to wear safety goggles and clothes that will protect you from getting soggy. The dislodged debris from the roof will also get on other surfaces around including patios and wall.
2. Wet/Dry Vacuum
A gutter cleaning kit can be added on your wet/dry vacuum to reach your gutters for efficient cleaning. The extension has nozzles and wands that get into the hard-to-reach areas easily. You can also make your own shop-vac extension using plastic tubes to collect leaves, twigs, dust, bugs and other debris from your roof and gutters.
Unlike using a pressure washer, this option will not mess up your other surfaces since all dirt is sucked and directed into a bag. The only problem with this method is the limitation to certain heights.
3. Leaf Blower
Most homeowners have leaf blowers for collecting leaves and twigs from driveways, lawns and gardens. With addition of a gutter cleaning kit, you can safely clean your gutters while standing on the ground. The tubes are connected to the blower and together with your arm and length of your blower, you will be able to access your roof so easily for cleaning.
Your cleaning will be less messy if your leaf blower can act as a vacuum – which will suck the debris instead of blowing them away to other surfaces. When using a leaf blower, protect your eyes from debris by wearing goggles.
4. Garden Hose
You could also use a garden hose to clean your gutters but without an attachment it will be difficult to get this done from the while standing on the ground. An extension wand with a C-shaped nozzle will make it easy to clean your gutters and other hard to reach areas on your roof.
When using a garden hose to clean gutters, you are likely to get wet just like when using a pressure washer. A rain jacket and goggles will protect you from the splashing water. A garden hose may not effectively dislodge tightly packed gutters with debris.
What to consider before cleaning your gutters
If you are planning to clean your gutters, it is important to do some assessment that will involve the following:
Height of the building
This should be the very most important part especially if you plan to clean your gutters from the ground. Even with the most lengthy wand extension, it will not be possible to do the cleaning yourself if the gutters are on a 2 story house. Hiring a professional service will be a great option for this scenario.
Nature of the Gutters
The condition of your gutters is a critical factor when choosing a cleaning method. It may be worth replacing gutters that are too old than cleaning them. Dents and holes in the gutters can get worse during cleaning and this will lead to leaks.
Some gutter materials such as vinyl can be brittle in extreme temperatures and force should not be used when cleaning. Aluminum is a popular and durable material that you can clean with any method as long as it is not damaged or dented.
Most outdoor cleaning equipment such as pressure washer, garden hose, vacuum cleaner or leaf blower can be used for roof or gutter cleaning as long as a relevant attachment is used. Telescoping wand attachments or gutter cleaning kits come in different lengths and you need to choose one wisely considering the height of your building.
Further, not all gutter cleaners are easy to work with. Any method you use will need some level of skill. Cleaning gutters from the ground is particularly demanding in terms of physical abilities. Holding a wand at a height or an angle can be challenging. You will therefore have to go with easy to use method.
Tips to prevent gutters from getting clogged
- Regularly inspect and clean your downspouts and gutters
- Trim trees and tall hedges nearby your roof
- Clean your roof to remove any trapped debris like leaves and twigs
- Install a gutter debris protector such as gutter brushes
It is quite safe to clean gutters when standing on the ground as compared to climbing a ladder. If you are to use a ladder, ensure it is firmly secured on the ground and perhaps you have an assistant to watch over. If your roof it too high to reach with any of your equipment, hire a professional service.