Collecting Rain? Use a Leaf Eater!
Here at BlueBarrel, we specialize in DIY rainwater harvesting solutions. A well-designed rain barrel system is a low-maintenance addition to your garden. Keeping your gutters clean is the most important thing you can do to keep your inlet screening from clogging.
Before seasonal rains begin is the best time to flush out your gutters. Use a leaf eater for a more robust pre-filter.
Enjoy this short video (filmed on gutter cleanout day!) to see just what a leaf eater can do, and then read below for more tips on how to clean those gutters without a ladder:
And now, about cleaning those gutters...
Most of us dread getting on the roof to clean gutters. Steep roof pitches can be especially scary for those of us who don't like heights.
But gutters are an essential part of the drainage system on any home. And further, clean gutters are necessary for efficient collection of rainwater. In the rainwater harvesting world, gutters and downspouts together are known as the “conduit system,” along with the downspout diverter that takes the rain into your rain barrels, rain tanks, or cisterns.
This article contains tips for how to clean your gutters without climbing up a ladder! The following information has been supplied from our friends at Frazier Roofing:
The last thing most of us want to think about when it comes to maintaining our homes is the gutter system. Yet, we force ourselves to give those gutters some attention for fear of water damage caused by considerable clogs. But you don't need to spend money to hire someone to clean the gutters, and these days, you don't even need to get up on a ladder.
If you’d rather keep your feet planted firmly on the ground, here are some tricks that will leave you with clean gutters and less money leaking from your checking account.
A gutter vacuum is one inexpensive way to clean gutters.
You can either purchase an attachment that connects to a shop-vac or leaf blower with a reverse function, or you can go completely DIY by making one out of tubing and duct venting.
Gutter vacuums will allow you to run along the length of your home sucking up any leaves and debris that are light enough to be caught up.
If your leaves are wet, or if you have caked debris lining the base, a gutter vacuum may not be strong enough to do the trick.
Try using gutter cleaning tongs (there are several types on the market).
This tool will allow you to grab heavier debris like wet leaves by pulling a string to operate the tongs.
It may be slow going, but if a ladder isn’t your thing, this could be a safer bet.
And hey, you may just be the first on your block to try it!
A messier option, but one that does not take a whole lot of precision, is a gutter flusher. It's a high powered hose on an extension pole that sends leaves on their way through the sheer force of water.
Warning: you may get a bit wet in this endeavor. But if you don’t mind that, and if you don't live in a drought-prone area, then this may be a good choice for you.
Gutter Cover Systems
Another option, with a small upfront investment, may save you the headache of cleaning your gutters at all ever again.
A gutter cover system like Gutter Helmet or Gutter Glove, covers the gutter while still allowing rainwater to pass through.
The Good Ole-Fashioned Ladder
If none of these options are appealing to you and you feel you must go up on that ladder, take the proper precautions before venturing up to the roofline.
Make sure your ladder is set on solid footing and have someone with you to help keep it secure. Take your time and proceed slowly.
Always keep three points of contact on the ladder. This means you may have to move more slowly just using one hand to clear your gutters, but safety should be your first priority here.
Garden gloves are also a must. Gutters can be a mucky mess, and sharp debris such as pine needles can wreak havoc on bare hands.
Ready for the next step in DIY gutter maintenance? Check out our blog on gutter repair tips!