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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 clogs.

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 of electric 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.

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