Cleaning out gutters is a dirty but essential part to any home maintenance routine. Gutters protect your home from potential water damage by diverting water away from the home. If your gutters are clogged, they will not work properly, and may cause severe damage. Learning how to clean gutters without a ladder not only keeps you safe, but it ensures your gutters are properly functioning.
Unfortunately, ladder falls are common and make gutter cleaning a dangerous task. In fact, thousands of people are injured every year from ladder falls. Read on to discover how to safely clean gutters from ground.
Why Important to Clean Gutters
As stated, gutters play a vital role in protecting your home’s foundation from water damage. If you have clogged gutters, or no gutters, water can leak into windows or the basement of your home. Sitting water can quickly cause damage.
Typically, gutter guards require minimal maintenance to work properly. As long as you are keeping your gutters free of debris, you should be in good shape. When your gutters do get clogged with leaves, twigs, and other debris, water will spill over the top and down the side of your home. These spills can cause damage to your home’s roof, siding, and foundation.
Additionally, in the winter melting snow and freezing rain can cause ice dams to form in your gutters. Ice dams can pull your gutters away from the roof, and even pose a danger to people walking below. Therefore, homeowners should clean their gutters at least twice a year.
Cleaning Gutters From the Ground
Cleaning gutters from the ground is a safer option than with ladder. It may take a little longer than using a ladder since you can’t directly see the top or inside of the gutter system. But overall it’s easy to clean gutters from the ground.
While many people have come up with creative DIY options for gutter cleaning from the ground, there are a few popular methods using store bought attachments.
1. Leaf Blower Method
Leaf blower attachments are commonly sold by many companies to be used for gutter cleaning from the ground. The attachment is a long pipe with a curved end to fit inside the gutter. This allows you to blow debris from inside the gutter out to the ground below. This method is best for heavily clogged gutters such as packed leaves, dirt, and twigs. Make sure you have a rake handy to clean up your lawn afterwards.
2. Wet/Dry Vac Method
Similar to the leaf blower extension, a wet/dry vacuum extension allows you to vacuum the gutter from the ground. Most online retailers and hardware stores carry wet/dry vacuum kits. You may even be able to rent one. This method is great for mild debris such as dry leaves and mild dirt. But heavier debris like twigs and wet leaves may clog the vacuum and attachment.
3. Garden Hose Method
A standard garden hose is a great option for cleaning gutters from the ground. Water hose attachments with a curved end are widely available. First, clean out the bulk of the debris with a leaf blower or wet/dry vacuum. Then hose down the gutter system to remove any mild dirt or debris that remains. A hose is also a great option for cleaning the outside of your gutters from the ground without a ladder. You don’t even need an attachment, just point and spray.
4. Pressure Washer Method
For heavy-duty gutter cleaning, turn to a pressure washer. The extension wand allows you to blast-away caked on dirt and debris. This method is perfect for gutters that haven’t been cleaned in a long time. It quickly and efficiently removes packed dirt and leaves, and clears clogged downspouts. Remember, it can get messy, so wear work clothes and plan to hose down your siding afterwards.
5. Gutter Sense Gutter Cleaning Tool
The gutter sense gutter cleaning tool was designed to make cleaning gutters from the ground a reality. It can be attached onto an extension pole and has been advertised to reach a two story gutter and grasp onto all types of debris including pine needles. The gutter sense gutter cleaning tool features tongs that are intended to run flat into the gutters even if the extension pole is canted. Keep in mind, it’s plastic and can break easily if not handled properly. Also, it works best on K-style gutters with flat bottoms and may not work with other types of gutters.
Gutter Cleaning Safety: Cleaning Gutters Without a Ladder
Cleaning gutters from the top of a ladder can be dangerous, but it is an effective method when done right. Alternatively, cleaning your gutters from the ground is a much safer option. Using one of the above methods will allow you to keep your feet on the ground while cleaning your gutters.
If your gutters haven’t been cleaned in a while, you may need to start by cleaning them by hand. This most likely means climbing a ladder. If you do climb a ladder, use a sturdy extension ladder, and have someone at the base to stabilize the ladder.
For two-story or higher homes, you should seriously consider hiring a professional gutter cleaning service. These companies have the proper equipment and training to access high gutter systems safely. Never climb on your roof to clean your gutters, it’s not worth the risk.
And, when in doubt, call your local gutter cleaning professional.
DIY Gutter Cleaning
Many of the above attachments have been recreated for DIY gutter cleaning. But, these DIY options are typically made from piping and fittings. Therefore, most homemade gutter cleaning attachments are heavy and cumbersome, making them difficult to use.
The Solution: Install Gutter Protection
The best method for cleaning gutters without a ladder is to prevent them from clogging in the first place. Regular gutter maintenance can go a long way in keeping debris and reducing the frequency of gutter cleaning. Installing a gutter guard is a long-term solution to gutter cleaning.
LeafFilter gutter guards keep leaves and debris out while allowing water to run through. The patented micro-mesh screen has no holes, gaps, or large openings, so even pine needles, shingle grit, and seed pods stay out. It installs directly onto gutters without disturbing the roof, and helps prevent damages related to clogged gutters.
To learn more about LeafFilter and how we can help keep you off your ladder. Click here or call the number above to schedule a free consultation.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in September 2016 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.