For most homeowners, gutters don’t need so much attention and maintenance. But gutters play a very important role. Without functional gutters, your home may suffer damage that will be costly to repair. The function of gutters is to redirect rainwater away. It may seem simple, but this function is vital.
Gutters protect your investment effectively. Rainwater is highly damaging to a house without protection. Let’s mention a few things that gutters do for your house:
- Gutters prevent water from flooding different areas of your house, especially the ground floor and basement;
- Gutters protect the foundations of your home from deterioration. If water pools around the foundations, they will soften. This makes your house more prone to suffer structural failure during an earthquake, for example;
- Gutters maintain your landscaping in good condition. Usually, rainwater pouring from the roof of your house can erode the soil. This will destroy the grass and your plants, leaving a pothole instead;
- Gutters reduce paint damage from water sliding down the wall. Most walls are coated with a sealant to protect the wall material from getting humid because of rainwater. But the paint coat remains unprotected in most cases;
- Since humidity does not accumulate, mold and other stains won’t appear on the walls.
Hence, proper maintenance is very important to keep the gutters of your house functioning without any problems. This is a difficult job, though. You need a long ladder to reach the gutters easily. In most cases, the most recommendable solution is to hire professionals that can do it.
But if you are a DIY person, you can learn to clean gutters without a ladder. It can be as efficient as doing it with the help of a ladder. But before describing these techniques, let’s take a look at the general requirements to keep gutters clean.
Regular Gutter Maintenance
Having gutters in your house is not a guarantee of protection. You need to clean them regularly to ensure they do their job properly. You also need to do other maintenance to keep them in perfect condition.
Gutters often fail because they get clogged with leaves, shingle grit, and other types of trash and debris. This may lead to total obstruction of the gutter. This means that your house will be completely unprotected against rainwater.
Other maintenance tasks you have to perform include the fixing of holes and gaps. Moreover, you must make sure that the gutters are well aligned with the downspouts. Otherwise, the rainwater will simply fall beside your house, offering no protection to the foundations.
You also have to adjust the gutters in such a way that they are attached to the side of your house. Otherwise, the rain will hit your walls directly. Verify that the hangers are in good shape. Also, in the gutter sag, you have to fix them so that the slope of the water path is correct. Otherwise, rainwater will form pools in some parts of the gutter, which can spill and cause damage.
Cleaning Gutters: DIY Approach
Of all the above maintenance tasks, cleaning the gutters is the one that you must perform more often. Remember, the main reason for gutter failure is clogging. Hence, this must be done as often as possible. As already mentioned, hiring a professional to do it is the best approach. It is expensive, though. You can do it yourself. But climbing a ladder may be dangerous if you don’t have the proper training.
Hence, cleaning gutters without a ladder is a good alternative. Here are some ideas to do it.
Cleaning Gutters with a Leaf Blower
This may be the simplest and most intuitive way of cleaning gutters. The leaf blower itself is not enough, though. You must have a nozzle extension, so you can use the leaf blower without climbing a ladder. You need to begin on the corner where the gutter ends. Start blowing away all the leaves and debris. Do it until you reach the other extreme of the gutter.
For this approach, you will need to wear a respirator or some type of protection. The lead blower will create a lot of dust, and this will fall on you. You don’t want to breathe all those particles, do you?
Cleaning Gutters with a Power Washer
This is an alternative if you don’t own a leaf blower. The procedure is the same as described above. However, because of the high water pressure, you must be careful to direct the water jet to the right place. Otherwise, you may end up breaking or damaging some materials, including the gutters themselves.
Here, you will need to wear a raincoat if you want. You will get wet for sure. So, choose a sunny and warm day to do this cleaning operation.
Cleaning Gutters with a Vacuum Cleaner
This is another possibility, although not so efficient since vacuum cleaners are not that powerful. You will need a nozzle extension too. But instead of blowing the leaves and debris away, you will suck them in. This will be a time-consuming process, especially if the gutters are very dirty. Like in the first approach, you will need to use some respiratory protection.
A Permanent Solution: Gutter Guards
If you choose to clean the gutters yourself, you’ll need to devote some time to this maintenance task. Independently of whether you use a ladder or not, this procedure is always tedious. The other option, paying a professional to do it, is expensive. So, you better find a permanent solution to this problem. You can install gutter guards. These are filters that prevent any debris or leaves from accumulating in the gutters.
You will have to invest in the purchase and installation of such guards. But once they are in place, you will never have to worry about gutter cleaning ever again. These guards allow only water to go into the gutters. Since there are many options in the market, you have to use some criteria to select the best gutter guards. But this discussion is beyond the scope of this article.