Keeping your gutters clean on your home can present a rather daunting challenge. However, the consequences of not keeping them clean definitely out way the trouble and expense of keeping them freely flowing. Here’s why it’s so important to keep your gutters clean, plus a system that will do the job. Below, we have discussed the way to create your own gutter cleaning system.
Why Clean Gutters Are Important
The job of gutters is more than just keeping the water off your head when you walk out the door of your home. Their task is to keep water from pouring directly off your roof. While little amounts of rain may not seem significant, when the rain comes off a roof eave it will naturally have a tendency to curl backward towards the house.
This means that water that should be diverted off the outside walls and windows is going to run down the side of your home. Dirt and mess are one part of the problem, but it goes deeper – as in deep along the foundation of your home.
Simply put, water that rushes off the roof of your home, down the side and immediately drains around your walls, will compromise the foundation. That is the most important part of having gutters on a home.
Gutter Cleaning Systems
Understanding the idea why gutters are critical is simple enough. The same reasoning explains why they need to be kept clean so that they can perform their job properly. This is where the problems start. Simple enough to appreciate the importance of gutters, but not so simple to keep them clean so they can do their job.
When clogged up with leaves, dirt, or other blockages, they do not flow freely. Eventually, the water is going to start pouring over the sides as if you had no gutters at all. The old-fashioned way is to climb up and down a ladder, digging gunk and muck out with your hands. Not an appealing proposition if you’ve ever cleaned gutters that way. There is a far more efficient approach.
There are different ways you can go about setting up your own gutter cleaning systems. Professional grade tools are available that are specially designed to do nothing but clean gutters. Factor the cost of whatever system you consider against the standard $125 and up fee that a gutter cleaning service will charge.
Moreover, this will be every time they clean your gutters. There are custom attachments that add to a versatile wet/dry vacuum. Here are the tools you’ll need to set yourself an efficient home gutter cleaning system.
Gutter Cleaning Vacuum & Attachments
If you’re going to set up your own gutter cleaning system yourself, you’ll need different things. The complexity of your system greatly depends on the conditions that you have around your home. If there are no trees around the house, you may only need the final piece of equipment, a hose end set up to flush gutters clean with water. If you have trees and leaves, you’re going to need a more complex equipment.
The first thing you need to tackle is getting the debris out of the gutters. If you already have a wet/dry vacuum, do a test run to make sure your vacuum has sufficient horsepower to do the job. Smaller vacuums will not only take longer, but the stress will eventually blow the motor. Even if you don’t already have a wet/dry vacuum, getting one is a great idea. There are other projects around the house, where they come in very handy.
It’s recommended that if you’re going to use extension hoses and gutter cleaning attachments you get a vacuum with a minimum horsepower of 5hp. Drum size is also important, and 16-gallons is the suggestion volume for gutter use. The best option would be a standard 6.5hp motor with a 16-gallon capacity, and a quality model will run you around $160. Much less already than one payment to a gutter cleaning service.
If you already have a wet/dry vacuum that meets the above specifications, all you’ll need is to incorporate the right attachments to build your gutter cleaning system. The first item that is essential is an extension hose. No need to try to piece a bunch of short hoses together. A 20-foot hose with adapters will cost you under $40.
Make sure you consider an adapter that transfers a standard 3½-inch hose down to the 2-inch size for your extension. You’ll quickly notice that the amount of suction power dramatically increases when you have a reduction in hose size from the nozzle-end down to the vacuum.
The final attachment needed to complete your system is a basic gutter cleaning kit. These are affordable, usually costing no more than around $30. You can add a brush end separately, which is nice if you have a lot of dirt and debris prone to clog your gutters.
Including a new wet/dry vacuum, full hose extension, and adapter kit, you’ll have less than $200 in your entire system. Far cry less than what you’ll fork over for a one-time gutter job. If you have gutters that require cleaning more than once a year, your new system will pay for itself and more, in a very short time.
#3. Telescoping Gutter Cleaners
When dirt and grime create a clogging problem, you’ll want to add one more piece of equipment to your gutter cleaning system. They sell extension wands that attach to the end of a garden hose. This is a nice finishing touch after you’ve vacuumed all the leaves and debris out of the gutter.
An extension wand will flush your gutters completely clean, washing all small dirt particles and loose items that may start a new blockage. Telescoping gutter cleaning wands average around $20, so they’re a nice addition to your gutter toolkit.
Remember, if you have a lot of leaves and debris that clog your gutters, you’ll want to schedule cleanings more often. Gutters that are open to the sky may only need a good wash out once a year to keep them flowing freely, so the telescoping wand will be all you need.
How prone your gutters are to filling up with debris, will dictate how elaborate of a gutter cleaning system you’ll need. Start out basic, and if you experience problems, you can always go up to a more elaborate system. Ultimately, even if you buy everything for a complete gutter cleaning system, one or two payments to a gutter service will prove your money well invested.