Clogged gutters can lead to a host of issues for homeowners. Gutters that are full of leaves and debris can harbor pests such as termites, cockroaches, and mosquitoes. In addition, full gutters can lead to structural damage by allowing water to collect around a home’s foundation. Keep reading to learn about five gutter cleaning tools that add years of life to your gutters.
A gutter’s lifespan depends on its material, upkeep, and environmental conditions. Aluminum gutters last for an average of 25 years, while copper gutters can remain functional for a century. The tools below are essential for keeping gutters clean, extending their ability to direct water away from your home.
Climbing a ladder to manually remove build-up from your gutters is the primary method for gutter cleaning. Before you get started, please make sure your ladder is sturdy, is in good condition, and can support your weight. A-frame ladders are best for gutter cleaning and should be tall enough to allow you to reach the gutters without standing on the top platform.
Make sure to place the ladder with all four feet on stable ground. If you don’t have someone to hold the ladder for you, a ladder stabilizer may help, depending on your house’s design. You’ll need to make several trips up and down the ladder to ensure you aren’t reaching too far and putting yourself at risk of falling.
Start cleaning in one corner, moving towards the middle of a gutter. When you reach the midway point, go to the opposite corner and work your way back to the middle. This approach prevents debris from getting pushed into a downspout.
2. Gutter Scoop
Gutter scoops are specially shaped tools designed to remove built-up debris easily. Although you’ll probably still have to use your hands at times, a gutter scoop can speed up the process. Make sure your scoop will fit in your gutters and is made of a material that won’t scratch or damage the interior of your gutters.
3. Gloves and Tool Belt
The build-up inside gutters can provide a habitat for insects like mosquitos and ants. A pair of heavy-duty, water-resistant gloves will provide the necessary protection as you reach into layers of damp leaves. Make sure your gloves are well-fitted and go far enough up your wrist to prevent debris from getting inside. In addition to gloves, a tool belt will free up your hands as you climb up and down your ladder.
4. Garden Hose
After you’ve cleared built-up leaves from the gutters, a garden hose will help you finish the job. Make sure your garden hose is long enough to reach from the water faucet to where you’re working on the ladder. First, use the hose to flush the main section of each gutter. Watch out for leaks, which can indicate cracks or spots in need of repair.
Apply a nozzle attachment to the hose to create a strong jet of water. From the ladder, spray the hose downward into each downspout. If you’re working with a partner, have them watch to see when water flows out the bottom. Alternatively, stand on the ground and aim the hose’s spray to a corner of your roof. The water will flow downwards into the downspout. If necessary, you can use a plumber’s snake for stubborn downspout blockages.
5. Gutter Guards
As a preventative measure, homeowners can consider adding guards to their existing gutters. Gutter guards are available in a variety of designs, materials, and price points. These products help deter larger animals, like birds and rodents, from making a home in your gutters and help prevent leaves from clogging downspouts.
While guards can reduce the amount of leaves that build up, they cannot prevent all debris from entering gutters. Even with guards, homeowners should still inspect and clean gutters once a year.
Summary of the Best Gutter Cleaning Tools
|Ladder and Gloves
|Gloves and Tool Belt
The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/IndyEdge
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