Blog | Atlas Window Washing | Overland Park, KS

Gutter Cleaning Tools – What I Use

Does cleaning the gutter frustrate you?

If you are like most people, the thought of getting on a ladder and spending half of your Saturday cleaning out filth is not what you had in mind. Unless “lovely filth” is your job, like these guys:

But if you absolutely have to get it done, here are the tools I use to make it 400% faster.

First, you need a good ladder. Make sure it is fairly wide so you are stable even if you reach towards the sides.

Werner articulating ladder.

Second, get a good bucket that isn’t too big. I reccommend a 2-3 gallon bucket.

2 gallon bucket

Third, use an extension pole. This and the next tool are the two that increased the speed for me.

8 foot extension pole.

Fourth, is a gutter spoon. This thing is awesome! With an 8 foot pole, you will only need to move your ladder every 16 feet. Think about how many times you would have to place your ladder using just your 3 foot long arms.

gutter cleaning spoon

Never Clean Your Gutters Again?

Is it possible to never clean your gutters again?

I am going to take a look at the most popular gutter guard products that are widely available in the US.

Three factors I will consider:

  • effectiveness
  • ease of use & maintenance
  • cost of ownership

Screen Style GuardsGutter Screen

Screen style guards can be made of metal or plastic. Some have mesh that further prevents small particles from getting in. These are fairly effective at keeping stuff out but residual debris can build up on top. You will have to clean the gutter guard. These can be a little tricky to install as well, since they need to tuck under the shingles. But they can be installed without hiring a pro which makes them fairly cost-effective.

Helmet Style GuardsHelmet Style Gutter Guard

Helmet style gutter guards cover the top of the gutter but leave a small gap in front to allow water to flow around the nose and into the gutter. Although effective at keeping large leaves out, a lot of smaller particles will find their way in. The exterior is self cleaning but the inside of your gutter will still need to be flushed.

These are not a product you would install yourself. They are the most expensive option even though some companies offer ongoing maintenance and cleaning included with it. If maintenance is not included, you’ll have to budget more for gutter cleaning than normal. Your gutter guy will have to remove the guard to be able to clean and then reinstall it.

Foam Gutter GuardsFoam Gutter Guard

Foam gutter guards are similar in effectiveness to screen style guards. Very little particles may pass through but otherwise they keep things out very well. Some debris can get stuck on top, just like the screens but can be blown off with a leaf blower. They are significantly easier to install than even the mesh screens. They’re slightly less expensive as well.

Occasional Gutter Cleaning Is A Must

Although I can’t say you will never clean your gutters again, it will be less frequent. Just like window washing, regular maintenance will extend the life of your gutters. It also makes your biggest investment more livable.

For my customers with a particular problem area, I do recommend that they treat that section. I prefer the foam guards because they are easy to remove when a cleaning is needed. Besides that, they are the most cost-effective product.

Is it Worth The Expense?

Overall, if you don’t have a problem area then getting guards could be an unnecessary expense, since you still have to clean the gutters. But, if you have a gutter that requires constant cleaning, then the right guard can help decrease that frequency.

Who wants to get on the ladder and clean their gutters four or five times a year?

Well, we do. But that’s a different story.

Will Gutter Cleaning Save Me Money?

Gutter Cleaning Saves Money In The Long Run

If you do gutter cleaning, it can prevent several expensive and dangerous problems.

Cleaning your gutters can save you money by preventing these common problems. In winter time, gutters with clogs can cause ice dams. These can back up under your shingles and cause major damage to your roof. If a clogged gutter fills with heavy debris, it will start to pull away from the house. Then water damage will ruin your fascia boards. Gutters can even fall all the way off the house and damage property or hurt people. And above all, a clogged gutter is not doing its job: preventing water from going into your foundation.

When it comes to gutter cleaning, you have two options: do-it-yourself or hire a professional.

Gutter cleaning is one of our favorite services we offer. But any homeowner who is comfortable on a ladder could also get the job done. Be sure to look for any problems present, such as improper slope and water damaged fascia boards. If you hire a professional, ask them if they can take pictures of any problems they find. This will help you plan for any future work that’s needed.

How frequently should you clean your gutters?

Many people ask us how often they should have their gutters clean. Most homes with very few trees can function through a whole year. But the average home does have trees near the roof and requires a cleaning in the spring and the fall. If you have certain types of trees that are very productive for most of the year, you may even need 4 cleanings.

You can watch your gutters and tell if it is time to clean them. Watch for these common signs:

  • water crests over and splashes your clean and streak free windows
  • no rain comes out of downspout
  • leaves or sprouts are visible over the top edge
  • the gutter has peeling paint or orange rust powder
  • the gutter is separating from the fascia

Gutter Guards: Are they worth it?

In our next article we will be discussing the most popular gutter guard products. Some gutter guards can extend the time between cleanings. But we have yet to find a product that is 100% maintenance free. Always inspect your gutters, even if you have protection over them. Prevention is the best medicine. Contact us to get a camera inspection of your gutter system.

Cheap secret liquid for streak free windows.

Window streaks about to drive you crazy?

Want to know the cheap, eco-friendly liquid that you can use to clean your windows with great results?

 

Professional window cleaners will guarantee you have no streaks on the windows, but that bottle filled with blue liquid and paper towels will usually let you down.

Window pros have a cutting edge solution to this problem. It is called “water fed pole” and it is one of the smartest inventions for window cleaning yet. It uses ultra pure deionized water to dissolve the dirt and minerals right off of your windows.

Now, a complete reverse osmosis, deionizing water filter system is not a small investment. But there is an alternative for the DIYer.

Water fed pole filters bring the TDS (total dissolved solids) down to zero parts per million. But there is a place where you can buy water that is almost as pure that is right down the street from you.

Distilled water is usually as pure as 1 ppm. To give you an idea, tap water is 250-300 ppm in most municipalities. And distilled water is available in your local grocery store.

Why is this useful? Because anything below 10 ppm will take all the dirt right off of glass and leave nothing behind; streak free windows and no water spots.

The only other thing you need is a microfiber cloth. Never use dryer sheets or fabric softener with your microfiber cloths. In fact, don’t even dry them with heat. Hang them up to dry or place them on top of the dryer while another load is drying.

As far as technique goes, use very little water. Get a spray bottle and *barely* mist your cloth. Wipe the window until the cloth dries out and begins to polish the glass. If it isn’t crystal clear after that, simply flip your cloth over to a dry section and give it another wipe.

This will give you streak free windows that you can enjoy!

In our next article we will discuss the dangers and expenses you can avoid when you clean your gutters.