Clean gutters without a ladder

Roofs, chimneys, siding
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kevm14
Posts: 13935
Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:28 pm

Clean gutters without a ladder

Post by kevm14 » Sun Dec 09, 2018 8:34 pm

There are a number of proposed solutions to this issue. Some work better than others.

My favorite method is to use an extension ladder, which requires 2 people because it is ridiculously unwieldy, climb up onto the roof with my leaf blower, and walk along the edge of the roof blowing the leaves out. It only takes a few passes and the gutter is clear. Problem is, getting someone to help with the ladder can be difficult, and this really does need to be done multiple times per year. So Bill mentioned wet/dry vac extensions and either using it as a vacuum or using it as a blower. Mine can't be used as a blower, but I do have a decent gas leaf blower. I thought about doing extensions on that but they are not the right size.

I looked into it more and the best available and reasonably priced solution I could come up with was 2x3" vinyl gutter downspout. I bought 3 10 foot sections. I bought 2 couplers. And I bought two elbows and connected them together which turned the air around like 150° or so. I used short sheet metal screws, kind of like the kind you'd use on actual downspouts, to hold the sections together. Oh I also bought 2 hose clamps to clamp the downspout around the leaf blower chute thing.

I ended up with 3 different sizes since I basically have 3 different heights of gutter. A 10 foot length for the garage/great room. A ~16 foot length for the front of the house. And a short 4 foot length for the deck gutter.

Technique was key. Turning the air sideways really helps but it requires a pretty firm hand/arm to hold it all steady. But I began to get the hang of it and it does work.
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These were in the gutter on the front of the garage roof area.
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Here is a ridiculous 20 foot section which was actually too long. I cut it down later on.
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I got the elbow for allowing me to hold the whole contraption so the downspout is strongest, the long way.

kevm14
Posts: 13935
Joined: Wed Oct 23, 2013 10:28 pm

Re: Clean gutters without a ladder

Post by kevm14 » Mon Dec 10, 2018 8:03 am

Bill asked about my thoughts on using a wet/dry vac instead of a gas leaf blower.

Well, I don't know that the airflow will be enough in blow mode. The RPM of my leaf blower was noticeably higher when blowing through the long downspout, because of the additional restriction/pressure. This means the output was meaningfully degraded. It took many passes to clear the gutters and it was quite awkward holding the hole contraption at a specific height and angle. One piece of mixed news is that on full chooch, the air output actually counter balances the weight of the downspout but this also means it is harder to pull/push the spout along, against the flow, which is best for actually getting the leaves out.

It did help when I realized turning the whole thing almost sideways to help direct air down the gutter, rather than blowing straight down.

For a wet/dry vac I suspect best results would be from using vacuum mode. You will need a better elbow on the end so that you can get the attachment right in the meat of the gutter at the proper angle. The elbow I was using would have vacuumed a few layers I'm sure but not all the way down to metal. Very dry leaves, maybe. But for wet leaves I think it is going to be less effective than using a good leaf blower.

There is another benefit of the vacuum approach - no cleanup other than emptying the can and no need to wear safety glasses as I had to (falling debris).

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