Cleaning gutters is one of the least appealing jobs around the house. By their very nature, gutters are challenging to get at, and the process of cleaning them can be awkward and pretty messy.
Gutters get inevitably clogged up with leaves and other matter (even balls if you have kids around the place!) over time. The fall is the worst time for this, but whenever there is a violent storm, large quantities of leaves and twigs can be washed into the gutters.
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The Importance of Gutter Cleaning
Because they’re way up high and you can’t see the problem building up, it’s easy to ignore the fact that gutters need attention. The reality is that the build-up of leaves, moss, etc., prevents the gutters from doing their job: keeping large quantities of rainwater away from your house.
And, before you know it, you’ll end up with a veritable 'garden' growing up there, as the damp conditions created by the compacted leaf matter are perfect for all kinds of seeds to germinate.
The bottom line is that if you fail to keep your gutters clear, not only will they fail to function efficiently, the effects can be pretty serious in terms of damage to the fabric of your home: damaged guttering, rotting facias and damp creeping into the walls. Remember the old saying 'prevention is better than a cure'?
Before we say more about the various gutter cleaning tools on the market, there's one note of caution we'd like to share: If your home is higher than one story, any method of gutter cleaning, whether you have the right tools for the job or not, is likely to be dangerous. Our advice, in that case, is to pay the professionals to do the job for you. Yes, it will cost more, but worth every cent if it keeps you safe.
Gutter Cleaning Price Estimates
Making an effort to clear your gutters is time very well spent, no matter how unpleasant the job may be. There are plenty of professionals out there who’ll do the job for you. The costs of such services can be expensive, and the job ideally needs doing at least once a year - more frequently if trees surround your property - so the outlay stacks up over time.
Typical costs for gutter cleaning services vary across the country and depending on the size of the property but average out at between $100 and $175. There may be some savings to be made by entering into a regular contract, where the job is done every six months or so, but year on year those costs still add up.
Perhaps you’d prefer to spend your hard-earned cash on other things? Well, the good news is that, in reality, although gutter cleaning is messy, it requires little skill and just a bit of physical effort. Better yet, if you invest in the right tools for the job, the whole process becomes way more manageable and less onerous.
The cost of specialist gutter cleaning products to help you complete the task isn’t as high as you might think and it’s a one-off cost instead of being a regular drain on your finances. The products recommended below, for example, typically cost between $20 and $50, which is substantially less than the cost of just one professional visit.
Making an initial investment in a relatively inexpensive home gutter cleaning system will end up in considerable savings over time. On that basis alone, it's well worth looking into buying your own.
Advantages of Having Gutter Cleaning Tools
There several key advantages in getting your own gutter cleaning system:
The Tools That Will Make Everything Easier
Having the right tools to do this job will make all the difference. We have reviewed all the types of gutter clearing options in this article but there are essentially 3 types of gutter cleaning systems out there.
The first type is the simplest in that it just attaches to any standard garden hose. An excellent example of this type is the Buyplus Gutter Cleaning Tool. It’s a lightweight telescoping pole which extends from its minimum length of 26 inches up to 84 inches.
A rotating tip is attached to the end of the wand, and the copper nozzle adjusts the water flow, so you can get the right pressure to force the debris out of the gutter.
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The second option for cleaning your gutters is an extension kit which fits a garden blower/vacuum consisting of several sections of tubing.
You connect up the sections to get the reach that you need to blow the debris from the gutters. (This does rely on you already owning a blower, but as an add-on accessory it's reasonably priced.) If this is what you're looking for, take a look at the Toro 51667 Gutter Cleaning Kit.
- Clean out the gutters with your feet firmly...
- Reaches farther than the competition allowing...
- Designed to maximize airflow through entire...
- Includes gutter nozzle, shoulder strap,...
The final type of gutter cleaning system is a one-off recently patented invention called the Gutterwhiz. You can find out more about it here. There’s nothing else quite like it on the market, designed by a man who was shocked to find his elderly father up on the roof trying to clean out his gutters and so set about finding a safer solution.
It's a manual grabber attached to a tall pole (sold separately) which is controlled by a rope to open and close the 'jaws' to grab the debris and remove it from the gutters. See the below video of the Gutterwhiz in use.
All About Gutter Guards
There are mainly 3 types of products which are designed to prevent a build-up of debris in gutters and downspouts. They each have their good points and are worth considering, but the bottom line is that gutters will still need attention from time to time when manual removal of the debris has to be done.
This is a fact of life and one of the many responsibilities of a conscientious homeowner, no matter what guards are put in place.
Have a look at this handyman video which compares two types of guards – it's from the UK, but the problem of blocked guttering is universal!
Here’s a breakdown of the types of guards which are available:
Gutter Cleaning Tips
This may sound a little odd, but you might even find you enjoy this essential yet onerous task if you had the right tools for the job. There’s no doubt that seeing all that debris coming out of the gutters and downspouts is very satisfying. Even more so when you know you’ve saved so much money compared to paying the professionals to do the job.
There are some spectacular 'hanging gardens' in the gutters of homes in my area, where grass, weeds, and even tree saplings have taken root. Whenever I spot one, I’m perplexed – and also somewhat concerned – that the householders don't make an effort to keep on top of the relatively straightforward task of cleaning gutters.
In the long run, it would save them so much money, and it also looks so unsightly. Yes, I’m going to say it again: prevention is (always) better than a cure. Take a look at some of the options we’ve suggested above and see which one would work best for your home.
Ian Haynes is an expert writer who has successfully deployed over 500 plumbing pages and other related content. He has an excellent understanding of home plumbing issues and translates his experiences via Plumbing Lab so readers can have a better understanding of common household problems. Outside of his work, Ian likes exploring Brooklyn with his Labrador.