“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.)
Let’s cut to the chase: Gutters need cleaning. How often you should clean the gutters depends on where you live and what kinds of trees you have on your property, but a general rule of thumb is once in the spring and once in the fall after most of the leaves are down.
But…stop. Put away the ladder. You can clean gutters from the ground, easily and safely. Here’s your quick guide to why—and how.
WHY CLEAN GUTTERS FROM THE GROUND?
The short answer is that it’s safer. Climbing a ladder to clean out gutters is just asking for trouble. 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 benefits. It’s faster, because you won’t have to climb a ladder, clean, climb down the ladder, and move it—and repeat the whole business all over again all around the house. No one wants to do that. Depending on the tool, it can be less messy, so you’re not going to be covered in gutter sludge at the end of the job.
Of course, there are disadvantages, too. It can be difficult to clean gutters without a ladder 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 rain gutter cleaning tool.
BEST TOOLS FOR CLEANING GUTTERS FROM THE GROUND
There are five basic tools that can be used:
- Vacuums with attachments
- Garden hose flusher attachment
- Powerwasher with attachment
- Leaf blower attachment
- Gutter cleaning tools
Not all tools are created equal, though. Let’s look at which of these tools on the list work.
TOOLS FOR CLEANING OUT GUTTERS
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 cleaning 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.
- Leaf Blower
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 of the gutter cleaning tools? 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 for first- and second-story house gutter cleaning, 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.
- Gutter Sense 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.
GUTTER CLEANING: SHOULD I DIY OR HIRE THE PROS?
We’re glad you asked. Many homeowners think hard about hiring gutter cleaning professionals to get the job done…but this can be expensive. And, with regular gutter cleaning a requirement, costs can add up fast.
For under $30, you can get the job done well, safely and easily, with our lightweight Gutter Sense tool. We think it will put an end to 1) griping about gutter cleaning, 2) squabbles with the spouse over your “honey do’s”, 3) the risks and mess from traditional gutter cleaning and 4) your eternal quest for the real answer to “how to clean gutters from the ground.”