|Rain Gutter Cleaning Tools
|In most areas, standard rain gutters must
be cleared of leaf litter, pine needles,
and other debris several times a year. Doing
this either from atop a ladder or by walking
on the roof can be time consuming and dangerous.
Furthermore, walking on the roof can damage
it the shingles or other roofing material.
You can hire someone to clean your gutters
on a regular basis; however, this may cost
several hundred dollars a year for just a
one-story ranch home with a short climb to
the gutter line. Another alternative is to
equip your home with gutter guards -- devices that reduce the frequency of
cleaning by keeping large debris out of the
gutter channel. Or, you can keep your traditional
open-channel gutters and invest instead in
a tool for cleaning the gutters while standing
safely and securely on the ground.
Rain gutter cleaning tools are
of three types:
- One type uses tongs mounted on the end of
a pole. You maneuver them into the gutter
channel and then pull on a rope to close
them and lift out the captured debris (similar
in operation to a long-handled branch trimmer).
A variation on this uses two separate poles
(one for each hand) to operate the tongs.
- A second type uses a spatula type device
that is also attached to a long pole. By
dragging the spatula along your gutter, you
can scoop out the debris.
- A third type directs pressurized water to
flush out the gutter. If you are not careful,
however, this may lead to more densely packed
In choosing a tool:
- Select a tool that can reach high enough
to enter all the gutters on your home while
minimizing the use of a ladder (as this will
slow down the work). Keep in mind that high
(e.g., second floor) gutters may require
a sturdier pole.
- A lightweight design is preferable to heavier
ones because you will be holding above your
head or at times hanging it on the gutter.
- Look for a tool that is non-conductive or
insulated to reduce the potential
shock should you accidentally
touch a power
line while using the device.
Mechanical (tong or scoop) models have a
harder time removing silt and sludge. You
may want to get a unit that allows the attachment
of a garden hose or other water source to
wash your gutter.