If you live in a home with two or more stories and are not a fan of heights, the prospect of climbing onto your roof -- or even a sturdy ladder placed close to your roof -- to clean your gutters may be panic-inducing. However, for homes on wooded lots or even those within blowing distance of deciduous trees, cleaning your gutters at least a couple of times a year is crucial to keeping your gutters (and roof) in top shape and preventing the need for pricey repairs. Fortunately, there are now a variety of products on the market that can help you get your gutters cleared of leaves and debris without taking your feet off the ground. Read on to learn more about thoroughly cleaning your gutters from ground level, as well as a few situations in which it may make more sense to have a professional clean your gutters instead.
What are the best ways to clean your gutters from the ground?
When it comes to cleaning your gutters without leaving the ground, long tools and angled mirrors are likely to become your new best friends.
- Long tongs or grasping poles
These tongs or pincers can attach to an extension pole, allowing you to operate them like a pair of arms or hands from yards away. When cleaning your gutters, you'll be able to use these tongs to grab handfuls of leaves, twigs, and other larger debris that blocks the flow of water through the gutter and drainpipe. Some tongs come with an attached mirror to help you better see what you're grabbing. Alternatively, you may even be able to use the tongs to place a mirror on your roof so you'll be able to keep an eye on your progress and revisit any areas you may have missed.
- Wet/dry shop vacuum
Once you've removed the larger pieces of debris with your tongs, using them to clean your gutters can become difficult and much more time-consuming. By attaching a long drainage hose to your current wet/dry shop vacuum and using the tongs or extension pole to direct the end of this hose, you'll be able to quickly vacuum up any remaining leaves or twigs. Once you're done, use your garden hose to direct a stream of water into your gutters to ensure they're now draining properly.
- Remote-controlled auger
If your gutters are caked with debris or soil that can't be budged, you may need more than a simple garden hose or long tongs. A remote-controlled auger is designed to help blast through these clogs and scour the sides of your gutters to prevent future clogs from forming. You'll be able to operate this auger from the ground, often without touching anything but the control display on your smartphone. It's usually a good idea to do the "hose test" by flowing water through the gutters after having them cleaned with an auger.
When may you need a professional to help clean your gutters?
There are some situations in which even the most high-powered tools aren't enough to fully clean a dirty gutter. Some types of trees have sticky sap that can coat the inside of your gutter when fallen leaves or bark land, while enterprising squirrels or other critters may build nests in your gutters that can't be seen (or removed) from ground level.
If you've already tried using tongs or a wet/dry vacuum to no avail, or have noticed that certain downspouts aren't draining as quickly as others, it may be worth calling a gutter cleaning company to have a thorough inspection and cleaning. This process is relatively inexpensive and can guarantee clean and clear gutters and downspouts all summer long.