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How to Cleaning Gutters with a Leaf Blower

Cleaning gutters is a challenging task that many people avoid until they cannot ignore it any longer. Gutters can fill with debris quickly and anything that can make this task easier must be considered. At some point, most people have thought about cleaning gutters with a leaf blower.

But, is this safe and practical? In this article, we will take a closer look at this topic to help you make an informed decision.

How Hard Is It to Clean Gutters? 

Rain gutters don’t need much upkeep to work well, but they must be kept clear of debris. If the gutters are filled with twigs, leaves and other outdoor debris, they will clog the downspouts which will cause water spillage onto the floor below. This may seem trivial, but in winter this water can freeze and thaw repeatedly and a heavy gutter can become detached from the roof.

Cleaning gutters on a ladder by hand is not the safest or most efficient way to complete this task. There are several cleaning techniques that can be used to improve gutter cleaning safety and efficiency.

Can You Use a Leaf Blower To Clean Out Gutters?

Pressure wash after Cleaning Gutters with a Leaf Blower

Yes, a leaf blower is easy to use and it’s a flexible option when you don’t want to use your hands or a roof rake to clean the gutters. This tool releases a narrow air stream that blows the leaves and other debris clear of the gutter. Some models can suck in small twigs, leaves and other debris like a vacuum cleaner and then this debris is shredded into a bag.

Steps To Cleaning Gutters with A Leaf Blower

Cleaning gutters is a difficult and time-consuming task, but you can make this process easier if you use a leaf blower. Here are four simple steps to follow.

1.    Locate the Downspout

Find the downspout that comes down from the roof and into the gutter. Find the position on your home and remove it from that location by unscrewing or pulling it out of place. There may be a knob under the downspout where you can shut-off the water.

2.    Get the Leaf Blower Ready

If you’re cleaning gutters with a leaf blower, you will need a powerful one to complete the job quickly. Connect the leaf blower to the location where the downspout is now clear and empty. You’re going to move the leaves of the roof and gutter and into the yard below. So, it’s essential to have a good connection before you begin.

3.    Clean the Roof Gutters

Turn the leaf blower on and move it backwards and forwards over the gutter. Stay at one side and don’t be tempted to move the blower in a zigzag motion. Clear the gutters on one roof side and then turn and do the other side. There is no need to move the leaf blower and the leaves can be directed to a specific gutter or yard area. Don’t push too many leaves into a single location because they can be a fire hazard when they are dry.

4.    Remove the Leaves

Look for other areas in the yard that have loose leaves and blow them into a pile that’s easy to pick up. When most of the leaves are gone, it’s time to clean the gutter with a water nozzle that’s connected to an outdoor spigot. Wear gloves as you clean to protect your hands and direct the water to the lowest gutter first. Accumulated debris can be removed with a garden tool such as a long handled shovel.

Any removed debris can be placed in a garbage bag for later disposal. Any organic material can be removed by hand; saturate the area with water to loosen it and pick it up with your gloved hands.  Use the nozzle to remove any excess moisture and when you’re done it’s time to reconnect the drainpipes.

How Do You Clean Gutters With A Backpack Blower?

A backpack leaf blower is a good tool to use when you need to clean gutters. They are larger power tools that have more power and longer running times. They can blow away soil, pebbles, twigs, wet leaves and other debris that accumulates in gutters.

Is It Safe To Clean Gutters With Leaf Blower

Yes, a leaf blower is a safer option for gutter clearance than extended ladders or other shaky platforms. There is no need to lean over the edge to get close enough for cleaning. You can stand on the ground and clean up to the gutter with a leaf blower. This tool also applies air pressure to the surfaces which is an extra safety measure when you’re cleaning gutters.

Benefits of Cleaning Gutters With a Leaf Blower

There are five benefits when you clean gutters with a leaf blower:

  1. This process is quick, it’s possible to clean your gutters in a few seconds.
  2. When you’re cleaning gutters, it’s safer because you don’t need to climb ladders or stand and reach on a platform.
  3. It’s easier to blast through the debris and leaves with a leaf blower when you compare it to a dustpan and broom.
  4. These powered tools may have up to 400 mph air speeds which can remove stubborn dirt and grime.
  5. The leaves and other debris can be collected in a bag or bucket for easier disposal.

Disadvantages of Cleaning Gutters with a Leaf Blower

There are three disadvantages if you use a leaf blower to clean the gutters:

Leaves piled up on roof gutter
  1. The down pipe may become blocked and blowing air into the pipe may not work. In extreme cases, you may need to dismantle the down pipe, put on gloves and reach inside to clear it by hand.
  2. Cleaning gutters with a leaf blower can be tidy if you’ve done it a few times and you can get the angle right. But, until you’ve got plenty of practice, it’s more likely that there will be clean and dirty spots. This is especially true if you have flimsy gutter kits that are subpar and hard to angle properly.
  3. Sometimes you will notice that the leaf blower doesn’t get the gutters 100% clean. Any small deposits of sticky mud are hard to shift without multiple passes. If you’re experiencing regular problems, consider a switch to a more powerful leaf blower and/or a pressure washer.

What Other Options Are There To Clean Your Gutters? 

There are three alternate options for cleaning gutters:

  1. Brush the gutters clean with a long handled rake and/or broom.
  2. You can clean the gutters with a shop vacuum, but the filter must be cleaned after each use and emptied as usual.
  3. A pressure washer designed for home use can clear hard deposits of mud and stubborn debris.

The Best Way Of Cleaning Gutters From The Ground 

When you clean gutters from the ground, it’s safer and more effective than balancing on a ladder. Adopting a slow and systematic approach to the cleaning process will be necessary because you cannot see everything that you’re cleaning. So, the cleaning probably takes longer, but the extra time is worth it and there are a couple of helpful techniques that you can use.

1.    The Wet/Dry Vacuum

Removing debris from the gutters with a wet/dry vacuum that has hoses and curved attachments is a great way to reach any obstructed gutters. When you work at ground level, you need that extra reach to remove the debris before flushing and cleaning. You can also get gutter clearance kits from many home improvement stores.

2.    The Garden Hose

Once you’ve removed the gutter debris with the leaf blower and/or wet/dry vac, it’s time to flush them clean. Using your garden hose with a suitable curved attachment will allow you to wash the gutters from ground level. Start the cleaning process at the downspout, spray the entire gutter length and work your way back to where you started.

This will be messy, you are likely to get covered in debris and it’s important to wear appropriate clothing for this task.

FAQ’sCleaning Gutters with a Leaf Blower

Will leaves rot shingles?

Yes, exposure to excessive volumes of moisture due to clogged gutters will rot shingles. The water will also fall near the foundation or leak through the windows and seep into crawl spaces and basements causing water damage.

How often should gutters be cleaned?

Annual gutter cleaning after the leaves have dropped in fall is a must to clear them for the arrival of winter.

What happens if you don’t clean your gutters? 

If the leaves and other debris are left in the gutters, they will cause the collected water to spill over and out onto the ground. The winter melt and freezing cycles can cause the formation of ice that can damage the gutters and the weight can pull them from the roof.

Do I need to clean gutters if I don’t have trees?

The accumulation of debris in areas that have fewer trees is lessened, but it will still occur and gutter cleaning is still necessary.

Do gutter vacuums work?

Yes, cleaning gutters with a vacuum from ground is safe, effective and efficient.

Conclusion: Cleaning Gutters with a Leaf Blower

As you can see, cleaning gutters with a leaf blower, wet/dry vac and garden hose with the appropriate attachments is a safer and more efficient approach. You can clean quickly with no risk of falling and you have the available power to remove stubborn deposits. The attachments that you need are inexpensive and readily available.