This year, go beyond standard gifts and tackle one of his dreaded but necessary chores: gutter cleaning. When you do, you’ll be Dad’s favorite for years to come.
When you think of Father’s Day gifts, what comes to mind: aftershave, a new shirt, some new tool for the grill?
No one loves gutter cleaning, even the most dedicated weekend warriors. We get it: it’s messy, it’s time-consuming—and it’s actually dangerous.
In fact, according to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, more than 500,000 people are treated each year in the United States for ladder-related injuries—and 97% of these accidents occur at home. Ladders don’t leave a lot of room for accidents: even those with experience can be startled, lose their balance, or be injured. It’s easy for something to go wrong fast if a child or pet runs into the ladder supports.
While the most dangerous part of the job is climbing a ladder, there are also other threats, like coming in contact with electric wiring, encountering wildlife, and getting scratched or injured from the gutters or the gunk inside them.
This year, make the job easy for Dad with Gutter Sense. It’s a lightweight, easy-to-use tool to clean your gutters from the ground, for a faster, safer way to get the job done. No more ladders, no more climbing, no more mess…one really happy dad. (Best of all, at under $30, Gutter Sense is an inexpensive gift he’ll use again and again.)
If you want to have him singing your praises, take on the chore for him. Here are some tips for easy first-time gutter cleaning using Gutter Sense.
- Watch the weather.
Cleaning the gutters in a storm is a no-go, even if you’re working from the ground, because of the risk of being struck by lightning. According to the CDC, 85% of lightning fatalities are men, often those working outdoors. Check the radar or your weather app. In addition, watch the temperature and heat index or choose the cooler early-morning or evening hours to get the job done.
- Wear the right clothes for the job.
Traditional gutter cleaning can be a messy job. Gutter Sense definitely eliminates the mess, but you’ll still want to wear comfortable clothing that washes easily (no Sunday best or brand-new shirts).
- Attach Gutter Sense tool to a pole.
Gutter Sense is designed to reach second-story gutters via an extension pole like a broom handle. We recommend a 12- to 20-foot pole with a standard threader (3/4-5), which you can find at a hardware or paint store. Screw the socket of the Gutter Sense tool firmly onto the pole and you’re ready to go. Choose a pole long (or short) enough to comfortably reach your gutters.
- Spread a tarp to catch debris.
A plastic sheet or tarp can make it easy to collect leaves, sticks, pine needles and other debris as you go. Spread it next to you and simply drag it along with you as you clean the gutters section by section.
- Get familiar with the tongs.
Gutter Sense consists of two tong paddles, a socket, a monofilament paddle line and a 3/16”pull line you use to open and close the tongs. It’s easy to operate the tongs. As you get ready to use the tool, you’ll use the wing nut to adjust the angle so that the paddles run flush along the bottom of the gutter. You’ll stand far enough from the wall of the house to be clear of fall debris. Wrap the pull-line around your hand so you can pull it while supporting the pole with both hands.
- Start grabbing!
Keeping the pole perpendicular to the gutter, lower the tongs partway into the gutter. Move the tool to the left or right until the tongs bump into the gutter support. Fully lower the tongs into the debris and pull the cord to gather.
- Pull out debris—and repeat!
Lift the tool out of the gutter while holding the pull line, then release the pull line to drop the debris onto your tarp. That’s it!
Now, we’re savvy enough to know that there will be some of you out there who are going to order Gutter Sense—but Dad’s going to do the job himself. Even if he’s still adamant about doing it himself, you’ll know you’ve given him a better, safer way to get the job done.
This Father’s Day, give Dad a better, safer way to get the job of gutter cleaning done with Gutter Sense.
Five Ways to Clean Gutters from the Ground
“Oh good, it’s time to clean the gutters!” said no one ever. No one puts it on the top of their list of Fun Ways to Spend a Weekend Afternoon.
But you can’t skip it. Your home’s gutters do more than just collect water. Gutters protect the roof, walls, foundation and landscaping when they properly channel rainwater. Avoiding or delaying gutter cleaning can have costly consequences, from sagging gutters that need replacement or repair to water damage, a leaky roof, or even rodent or pest infestation. (Also not on anyone’s Fun Ways to Spend a Weekend Afternoon list: de-mousing the house.)
So, you’ve accepted it. Gutters need cleaning. Not only this, but they should be cleaned at least twice per year, once in the spring and once in the fall. If you have pine trees on your property, you’re probably looking at every three months, as needles can clog your gutters and downspouts.
Now that you know why and when you need to clean your gutters, let’s look at how.
Gutter cleaning from the ground
Many of us are hardcore DIYers, especially when it comes to working around the house (and even more so when significant others tell us we need to do fewer dumb things). Climbing a ladder to clean the gutters is just asking for trouble, though. Every year, thousands of homeowners are injured in ladder accidents, making gutter cleaning one of the most dangerous household tasks.
In addition to safety, there are other advantages to cleaning gutters from the ground. You can work faster without having to move a ladder every few feet. It’s also easier to handle interruptions without having to climb down a ladder, so you’re less likely to fly off the handle when the kids need help finding their show on Disney+.
Of course, there are disadvantages, too. It can be difficult to actually get the gutters clean from the ground unless you are using the right tool. And because you’re not in the business of doing this more than absolutely necessary, let’s make sure you choose the right tool.
Best tool for cleaning gutters from the ground
There are five basic tools that can be used to clean gutters from the ground:
- Vacuums with attachments
- Garden hose flusher attachment
- Powerwasher with attachment
- Leaf blower attachment
- Gutter cleaning tools
Which of these actually work? Let’s break it down.
A wet-dry vacuum (like a Shop-Vac) is an option because it makes cleanup easier—no messy leaves or gunk to clean up.
Cons: It’s difficult to get the attachment to the height of your gutters without using a ladder. There are extensions but they can be unwieldy to use or may not fit your vacuum model. Access to a power outlet can be a problem, too.
Hose with attachment
Every homeowner has a hose (and if you don’t, you might have bigger problems than which gutter tool to use). Attachments of a variety of sizes are available on the market.
Cons: How successful you’ll be really depends on your water pressure, reach, and the type of debris in your gutters. It’s also really easy to get soaked and make a mess with this tool.
If you have a powerwasher, there are flusher attachments and extensions you can use to reach your gutters.
Cons: High water pressure makes cleaning more effective—but prepared to be soaked and to have a big cleanup job on your hands after. Power access can be a problem as with a vacuum.
This is another common piece of equipment many homeowners have, and some come with gutter-cleaning attachments.
Cons: Depending on the type of attachment, you may still need to climb a ladder (which we’ve established is dangerous). Leaf blowers can blow the mess all over also, which just means a bigger cleanup now—and maybe later, too.
Best gutter cleaning tool
So, what’s the best option for cleaning gutters from the ground? We think it’s Gutter Sense, a lightweight, easy-to-use tool that attaches to any standard 12- to 20-foot extension pole. Why is it better?
- It eliminates ladders, so it’s safer.
- It’s highly effective on first- and second-story gutters, removing pine needles, leaves, and muck with its 14-inch grasp.
- It cleans under supports.
- It’s lightweight and easy to use, with angled tongs for easy access to the gutters.
- It eliminates mess—no more soaked clothes and messy gutter gunk.
- It fits on an ordinary extension pole.
- It grabs the mess for you—no more painful scratches and cuts.
- And, at under $30, it’s a low-cost, easy-to-store tool that you know will get the job done.
The Most Dangerous Gutter Cleaning Mistakes
Gutter cleaning is a messy job, but someone has to do it. And at many homes, it’s the homeowner who does it.
It looks like a job that’s easy to do but looks can be deceiving. Gutter cleaning can be complicated and dangerous, especially if your home has second-story gutters. It’s even riskier if you’ve never taken on the job before.
Many homeowners, though, are reluctant to pay for professional gutter cleaning. If you’re a committed do-it-yourself homeowner, you should know how to clean your gutters without making these seven common mistakes.
Poor ladder safety precautions
The #1 mistake most people make in gutter cleaning is not following ladder safety precautions. Each year, thousands of people are treated for ladder-related injuries, and as many as 300 die. On a ladder, things can go wrong in just seconds—and when you’re up high, you’re going to get hurt (or worse) if you fall. And there’s a lot that can go wrong, from a ladder in disrepair to unstable placement to unexpected contact with electrical wiring, or sudden vertigo or dizziness, which is more common than many people realize.
If you are going to go up on a ladder, for gutters or any other reason, be sure you’re placing the ladder securely and ask a family member to hold the ladder for stability.
If you’re taking the traditional DIY approach to gutter cleaning, you’re going to be hauling tools up on that ladder with you: a hose, attachment, a bucket or container for the debris, maybe even a hammer to fix something you’ve found up there. While it’s no big deal to drop one of these things from a few feet above the ground, it’s another entirely to imagine what could happen if you drop a hammer from 15 feet up, and it hits a person or the pup on the way down.
It seems like common sense, but it’s not: don’t wear flip-flops or sandals while cleaning the gutters. You want supportive, closed-toe footwear with rubber, non-skid soles, whether you’re climbing a ladder or not—but especially so if you are.
Another common-sense safety principle is don’t overreach—but again, it’s easier said than done. Once you’re up on a ladder, it’s tempting to lean just a bit further to get that last bit of gunk. It’s very easy to lose your balance and end up falling off the ladder.
Not wearing gloves
What’s sitting in your gutters isn’t soft and silky. It’s spiky and sloppy and sharp, and it’s not going to be fun to grab with bare hands. The gutters themselves can be a hazard too. They’re made of sheet metal that has been rolled and cut, and they’re studded with screws with sharp ends. As you grasp about in the muck, you run the risk of slicing open your hand if you’re not wearing gloves.
Not using the right cleaning tools
If you’re going the traditional route, you’ll need the proper tools to clean out the gutters. That’s more than a kinked hose, a bucket, and a ladder.
Not cleaning at the right time
When do you clean the gutters? In general, you’ll want to do it in the spring and fall. Why? The point is to keep water flowing from the rooflines to your drainage system well before summer storms, if they’re common in your area. This prevents damage to your house. If you live near pine trees, you might want to clean your gutters every three months.
If you’re rethinking how to clean the gutters, it’s time to look at a better, safer, easier way. Gutter Sense is a lightweight, easy-to-use tool to clean gutters from the ground. It attaches to any 12- to 20-foot standard extension pole, so you don’t have to climb a ladder to get the job done. This eliminates the first three common mistakes on our list right away!
Gutter Sense’s angled tongs also grab the gutter gunk for you, so there’s no chance you’re going to cut up your hands in the gutter (see #5). And it solves #6 because it’s an easy-to-use, devastatingly effective tool for first- and second-story gutters. This only leaves #7, and we think it will be easy to eliminate as you’ll no longer dread getting the job done.