You're headed into the fall months and you know after the leaves come you'll want to clean your gutters from the safety of the ground. Are there good ways to clean gutters from the ground if you have an aversion to ladders? We've gathered the information for you, with the options of best ways to clean your gutters, and compiled it for you in this post.
Here are the best ways to clean your gutters from the ground:
- Leaf Blower
- Power Washer
- Garden Hose
- Wet/Dry Vacuum
Let's take a look at each of these options and see the pros and cons of each. We'll also talk about why and when gutter cleaning should happen. So keep reading!
Ways To Clean Your Gutters Without Use Of A Ladder (From The Ground)
Though using a ladder is probably the most direct way of getting your gutters cleaned, it can also be dangerous, particularly if you are working alone. We've researched other ways to get your gutters clean, without having to leave the ground.
Use A Leaf Blower
Leaf blowers are a great tool for blowing debris out of your gutters. You don't even have to get on a ladder to do it if you have the right attachments. Many manufacturers make a long extension system specifically for getting up and into gutters. These are great for the hands-free cleaning of your gutters.
Gutter Clean Attachment For Blower
This attachment from Black And Decker has up to a 12' reach and a curved fixture at the end for getting into your gutters. This won't work for a multi-story home but is great for 1-story homes.
Use A Pressure Washer
Pressure washers are a great tool to have for all sorts of cleaning projects. And yes, you can wash your gutters with them. You want to make sure you have the right attachments and wear waterproof clothing because you'll likely get splashed in the process. If you're going to the trouble of using a pressure washer, be sure to wash both the inside and the outside of your gutters.
Electric Power Washer
This pressure washer from Sun Joe is a great household pressure washer.
Can I Pressure Wash The Inside Of My Gutters?
Light-colored gutters tend to discolor with mold and mildew over time. Pressure washing is a great way to get rid of the green discoloration easily. Of course, if your gutter attachments are loose, the force of the water could potentially loosen it further, so first check to see if they're secure before blasting them with pressurized water.
This ridge cleaner will blow out the leaves from your gutters before you use the wand cleaning attachment.
Pressure Washer Attachment
If you want to clean out the interior of your gutters with a pressure washer, be sure to get a pressure washer attachment specifically for that purpose. This curved attachment can be used from the ground and curves to reach inside of your gutters.
Gutter Cleaner Attachments
Use A Garden Hose
If you can't afford to buy your own pressure washer, it is possible to get a similar effect on your gutters with a simple garden hose. Of course, you won't have the advantage of the power of pressurization, but you can at least get things clean enough to prevent back-up or potential damage by having stopped up gutters.
Like using a pressure washer, there are attachments for your garden hose to help you reach up to your gutters from the ground.
Telescoping Gutter Cleaning Wand
This telescoping hose attachment has a crooked end to fit into your gutter and wash it out. This device extends from 40 inches to 70 inches and the head swivels 180 degrees.
Use A Wet/Dry Vacuum
Another great tool is a wet/dry vacuum, also known as a shop vacuum, for cleaning your gutters from the ground. With this sturdy vacuum, you can use a telescoping attachment and literally suck the leaves up and out of your gutters. This method won't take care of any stains, so you'll need to use your hose afterward if you want truly clean gutters.
Gutter Cleaning Kit
Craftsman makes this attachment for your shop vac that will help you get all the leaves and debris out of your gutters.
Use A Gutter Robot
Yep, it's true. There's a robot available to clean your gutters. The iRobot Looj 330 is made specifically for gutters. It runs on lithium batteries. You will need to climb on a ladder to place it in the gutter, but there's no up and down and up and down like there is when you're hand removing debris. Pretty cool!
iRobot Gutter Cleaning Robot
Hire Professional Gutter Cleaners
If you have a multi-story home, the only way to stay off a ladder is to hire a professional crew. Typically, gutter cleaning is not a super expensive task and it can be worth it if it keeps you from having to buy special equipment or climb to tall rooflines.
What Happens If You Never Clean Your Gutters?
If you never clean your gutters or never pay someone else to clean your gutters, you open yourself up to a whole host of problems. Gutters are there to collect water that rolls off your roof, but gutters also collect other things. They fill with leaves, sticks, and other wind-born debris. The problem with this is when that debris sits too long.
Once it sits, the debris can begin to compost and turn to soil or it can clog your downspouts. This attracts pests. Plants can begin to grow. Water can't flow through the gutters to your downspout. When the water can't flow, it will jump out of the gutters and cause potential water damage. If you end up with roof damage, you might not even be able to claim it with your insurance as not doing maintenance can void home warranties and some insurance policies.
How Often Should I Clean Gutters?
At the very minimum, you should clean your gutters once a year. The best time for this is in early winter, before the snow but after the leaves have finished falling. This will allow you to clear out all of the tree debris that falls during that season.
Most professionals recommend cleaning out your gutters twice a year: once in the fall and once in the spring. You may need more if you live on wooded property. It's also a good idea to give your gutters a check if you know you're in for a major rainfall event.
How Long Does It Take To Clean Gutters?
The size of your house and the length of time between cleanings will determine how long it takes to clean your gutters. If you have a small one-story home that is regularly maintained, you can clean it in about an hour using one simple ladder, a good pair of gloves, and a trash bag to deposit the debris.
If you have a large home with multiple stories, things get more complicated. You may need extra-tall ladders to access gutters from the roof. You may even need special equipment that is costly to buy. Many people with larger multi-story homes will hire professional gutter cleaners rather than doing it themselves as it's time and money intensive.
How Do You Know If Your Gutters Need Cleaning?
It's best to be in the habit of checking your gutters once in the fall and once in the spring. But if you're in a new home, or have let it slide, there are several telltale signs to look for when it comes to cleaning your gutters. If you notice any of the following, it's likely your gutters need a good cleaning:
- Sagging gutters. If you notice your gutters sagging anywhere, chances are they need cleaning.
- Water stains on the side of your house. This indicates that water is jumping out of the gutters and not flowing correctly.
- Your gutter is stained with moss and mildew.
- Birds and squirrels are hanging out in your gutters. This indicates there are bugs, acorns, and other edibles for them in dirty gutters.
- Plants are growing out of your gutters–plants should never grow from your gutters!
Are Gutter Guards Worth It?
Whether or not it's worth it to get gutter guards is a situational answer. For the average homeowner with 200 feet of gutters, gutter guards will cost between $1,500 to $2,000 for professional installation. If you're in a one-story home and have no issue with a twice-yearly DIY cleaning, then perhaps it's not worth it.
However, if you're in a multi-story home and have to pay professionals to clear your gutters, it might be cost-effective in the long run. Gutter guards won't totally eliminate the need for tree debris maintenance as it can still build up in roof valleys and seeds can still slip through certain types of guards. But, you might be able to drop your professional cleanings from twice a year to once a year or every other year with no serious consequences.
The main thing to remember is to keep your gutters cleaned at a minimum of once per year. How you do it is less important than actually doing it. And if you have a one-story home, you can clean your gutters without ever climbing a ladder.
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