Gutter-Cleaning Vacuums and Other Implements

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Jan 01, 2011 | Steve Graham
Cleaning a gutter

Cleaning the gutters is an unpopular seasonal home ritual. However, helpful gutter-cleaning tools are available at several technology levels. Gutter-cleaning vacuums, leaf blower attachments and manual claws can all help you do the mucky job.

High-Tech Gutter-Cleaning Vacuums

The iRobot Looj, brought to you by the Roomba self-propelled vacuum cleaner company, is a line of self-propelled electric gutter-cleaning vacuums. Like many other gutter-cleaning vacuums, the Looj pushes most of the debris onto the roof and the ground. It is the most high-tech way of avoiding the yuck factor of reaching into the gutters, but you still need to pick up the leaves.

Weed Eater makes attachments that turn the company’s leaf blowers into the opposite of a gutter-cleaning vacuum: electric gutter-cleaning blowers. Various tubes with a 10-foot reach let you blow the leaves and debris out of the gutter without leaving the ground. Similarly, long hose attachments can turn pressure washers into gutter-cleaning washers.

Medium-Tech Gutter-Cleaning Devices

Other gutter-cleaning devices bridge the gap between power tools and work gloves. The Gutter Sense tool and similar brands make what is basically a claw on an extension pole. They allow you to pull out the leaves without the hazards of climbing on a ladder.

The Gutter Getter kit is a set of gutter-cleaning implements with extension poles that let you either scoop leaves straight out of the gutter or reach up and grab at them from the ground.

Low-Tech Gutter-Cleaning Tools

Even with all the nifty gadgets, many homeowners still rely on old-fashioned gutter-cleaning implements. Even if you’re willing to spend the bucks on a gutter-cleaning vacuum, it’s hard to find something that works better than a basic garden trowel. Just scoop out the debris and bag it up or toss it in the yard to rake up later. Thick work gloves can even be considered a low-tech gutter-cleaning implement. Just reach in there and grab at the goop.

After using almost any of the gutter cleaning tools described above, you will also likely need two final items. A garden hose will help you wash out stubborn, caked-on debris and make sure the water is flowing out of the downspouts again. Finally, a rake will help you pick up all the leaves you pushed out of the gutters.

Why Is Gutter Cleaning So Important?

Good gutter maintenance (using some of the gutter cleaning tools found here) will help you avoid costly repairs and prevent water damage to your home. Clogged gutters hold in water and debris, which add weight to the gutter system and can cause the gutters to loosen. Overflowing gutters will eventually allow water to seep under the shingles on your roof and into your walls through ridge vents and windows. They can also lead to foundation damage.

Gutter Cleaning Tools Tips

  • Always follow proper safety precautions when using a ladder in attempting to access the gutters.
  • If you use any of the gutter cleaning tools discussed here, be sure to clear all debris from the gutters and downspouts.

  • Make sure that your downspouts are cleared before you flush the gutters with water.

  • Use a hose to flush out the downspouts and gutters.

  • Consider borrowing, renting or purchasing a power washer for deep-cleaning the gutters.

  • Inspect the gutters for any sagging, rust, or other damage. If you need to replace damaged gutters, find a reliable contractor.
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