Vacuuming is unquestionably one of the safest and eco-friendliest methods if all you want is a mess-free process of cleaning your gutters, especially from the ground.
Gutter vacuuming incorporates the use of a vacuum and special attachments that create a powerful suction that aids in the removal of leaves, straw, and other debris from your gutters. The debris that has been removed from the gutter is collected in the gutter vacuum container/bag, making it simple to remove and dispose of.
Read on to learn more about what type of vacuum to use, the attachments and other additional tools, the process of gutter vacuuming plus the pros and cons.
Gutter Vacuum Cleaner
The ideal vacuum for cleaning gutters is a shop vacuum cleaner also known as wet-dry vacuum cleaner. shop vacuum gutter cleanerThis type of vacuum has a simpler design and fewer features than standard household vacuums, and but has many advantages over them.
Wet-dry vacuum cleaners operate on the same principles as traditional vacuum cleaners, with the exception of having a much better air intake and using a bucket rather than a bag.
One of the most important features of wet-dry vacuum cleaners is their versatility. It can, in fact, be used for almost any cleaning task: it can pick up small to large amounts of debris; clean up wet spills; and so on.
Wet-dry vacuums have extremely powerful lifting and suction capabilities, making them extremely efficient and effective at removing both liquid and dust particles.
First and foremost, an industrial vacuum with sufficient power is required; a standard wet and dry vacuum will not suffice for gutter cleaning. It is recommendable to pick one with multiple motors to give you more than 3000 watts of power.
The second, and equally crucial, requirement is that the debris enter the machine tank through an inlet that won’t clog up. Standard, even “Industrial,” vacuums have a small plastic elbow where leaves and other debris enter the waste tank. This elbow is easily blocked by the muck from gutters.
A “cyclonic” waste inlet is required, in which the dirt enters at the waste tank drum’s edge without any obstructions and can “cyclone” all the way around before settling.
Thirdly, you require a 50mm-diameter hose and fittings. When cleaning gutters, standard commercial vacuums with 38mm diameter connectors are likely to quickly become clogged.
An air-filter guard mechanism is also a good idea. This acts as a sort of substantial metal bowl that inserts into the machine drum before the filter to shield it from any sharp particles that may otherwise destroy it.
Following are vacuum attachments for gutter cleaning
Telescopic central vacuum wands connect your hose’s handle to your cleaning attachments. These wands are made of a single piece that extends and adjusts in height.
You can adjust the wand height based on your needs with the telescopic wand. It also has lock features to prevent retraction caused by internal pressure differences.
The elbow attachment is fitted at the end of the wand to allow you to access the inside of the gutter. There are commercially sold elbow attachments that come in kits alongside other attachments and are mostly set at 120°.
However, you can make your own elbow attachment by joining three short 2” pvc pipes using two 90° PVC elbow joints together to form a U-shape. Much easier, you can use a 180 elbow to save you the trouble.
Hose Extension wands
Hose extension wands attach to the vacuum cleaner hoses and help you reach the gutter without having to climb. Extension wands can be adjusted to extend your reach to the gutters by either adding the necessary number of wands that suffices.
When using PVC or aluminum tubes in place of extension wands, you need correspondent couplers to attach the two tubes firmly together.
Make sure that the couplers match the tubing you are using to avoid inconveniences and for efficiency.
Gutter nozzles are often included in commercial kits and are usually attached at the end of the wand elbow attachment or come fixed to the elbow. The work of the nozzle is basically to suck in debris to the tubing or in some cases blow air to blow off debris.
When using diy attachments, you can customize the end of your nozzle by cutting a few notches to prevent the tube from sticking to the gutters due to suction.
2” Central vacuum tubing
In place of extension wands, you can use lengths of 2” central vacuum tubing that can be attached together to act as wands. Central vacuum system tubing is specifically designed to avoid clogging by debris. You can also use lengths of 2” PVC tubing or light aluminum tubing that can be joined together to achieve the desired height.
In rare cases, one might prefer vacuuming the gutters right from the roof. You can just clip on an extension hose of your preferred length and do your job. Extension hoses also come in handy when the vacuum cleaner is positioned somewhere farther from the working area, or when the main hose is too short.
Although not mandatory a ladder is quite useful when vacuuming gutters. You can use it to climb the roof for gutters inspection or fixing a problem on the gutters during your work period. If you will have to climb the roof, make sure to uphold safety by putting on a safety harness
You should consider wearing a helmet when vacuuming your gutters for safety. A helmet will protect you from your head from injury by any falling debris or attachments that may come off. Furthermore, it prevents your head from getting messed by any dirt and debris that might drop off.
You should wear gloves when doing the job to prevent your hands from getting contaminated or injuries but any debris that you might come into contact with.
Safety goggles are among the most essential safety equipment you need when vacuuming gutters. They will protect your delicate eyes from getting debris and dirt in as you look up cleaning the gutters and throughout your work. You might also prefer sun-blocking goggles to protect your eyes from sun rays.
Lastly you will need a garbage bag to put all the debris collected from the gutters.
Further Reading: Best Gutter Cleaning Tools for 2 or more story houses
- First, clear any objects around the perimeter of the house that might obstruct you in your task. After that, assemble everything you need at a convenient place nearby.
- Next attach the necessary attachments to your vacuum cleaner as needed. Ensure that you fix a sufficient and convenient length of wands that will help you reach the gutters comfortably.
- Plug the vacuum cleaner to a power output and switch it on to test functionality and then make the needful adjustments if necessary. If the suction power is low in relativity to the vacuum cleaner, you can detach the filter to increase suction. That is, if it is safe as per the model.
- Once everything is in check, start vacuuming from one end of the gutters. Direct the suction nozzle to the gutters and gently rock the open end back and forth whilst moving slowly towards the other end.
- After vacuuming a small portion of the gutter, you can climb a ladder to inspect the quality of work done so as to be able to determine how you will continue.
- If there is still debris in the part you had vacuumed you should redo the area then proceed slowly and more carefully. If the area is perfect, you should proceed at the same pace and intensity or you can hasten a little bit more.
- Once the gutter is free from debris, repeat the same for all the other gutters until they’re all debris free.
- Lastly, idy up the surrounding area off any fallen debris and collectively dispose of it as necessary. After that, disconnect all attachments carefully and do any cleaning if needed and return everything safely back in place.
During your vacuuming for all gutters, make sure to observe the suction power of the vacuum cleaner. If low, switch it off first and empty the debris off it or unclog any parts that might be clogged.
Another vacuuming tip is examining the nature of the debris to determine how to deal with it. For debris composed mostly of leaves you should suck them up above with the suction nozzle facing downward. For debris mostly composed of straw, pine needles or anything of the nature, you should slant your nozzle a little bit sideways and vacuum them from the side for more efficiency.
Clear the working area
Another easy thing to do is to clear the perimeter of the house of any objects that may obstruct your path so you don’t forget about them and trip over them.
Put on protective gear
Essential protective gear for this task include safety goggles, helmet, gloves and protective clothing. Putting appropriate gear protects you from any risk of getting harmed by falling debris or loose equipment and accidental slipping.
You should also consider putting on sunglasses if you are working with the sun overhead to protect your eyes from harmful sun rays.
Use a ladder for climbing
Never attempt to inspect your gutters from the roof. Instead, reach and access the gutters with a ladder for any necessary inspection or other purposes. Even if your roof isn’t particularly steep, climbing on it may seem harmless, but there’s always a danger you could slip and fall. On the other hand, you can safely access the gutters while standing still if you have a ladder.
Follow the “rule of three” when using a ladder, which states that you should always have three points of contact. Maintaining three points of contact can assist stabilize your body and reduce the likelihood that you will fall from the ladder, whether it be with two feet and one hand or two hands and two feet.
Avoiding overloading or overstraining the machine
You should empty your debris holding container periodically when it is almost full to avoid clogging overloading the machine.
Additionally, you should clear up any debris-clogged areas of the entire suction system to prevent wearing down the system by overworking the vacuum system.
A gutter vacuum works in the same way as a regular vacuum cleaner, except it extracts larger debris from your gutters. The gutter vacuum is a wet/dry vacuum that can easily collect both dry and wet debris.
Gutter vacuums are used in conjunction with other specific attachments to allow one to reach high heights and easily vacuum gutters
from the ground.
A motor unit sits over the vacuum collection drum on the gutter vacuum. When the motor is turned on, the rotating fan creates a suction vacuum, sucking in air and debris at high speeds via the attached tubing.
As air and debris enter the system, the pressure and airflow slow over the drum, allowing dirt and liquid particles to fall out of the air stream and collect in the drum’s bottom.
The duration of the vacuuming process varies depending on the area you are supposed to cover and the amount of debris you are supposed to remove in the gutter. On average, it takes roughly around 30 minutes for most homeowners to get the task done which is undoubtedly fast.
Vacuuming is remarkably faster in comparison to other gutter cleaning methods and relatively easier.
By using a vacuum cleaner, you can safely remove debris from your gutters without the necessity of having to climb and do it. This is made possible through the use of gutters attachments which help you clean your gutters safely from the Safety of the ground.
Other methods that are used to get debris off the gutters are sometimes pretty messy by spilling debris from the gutters to the surroundings.
With a gutter vacuum cleaner however, you can get the whole job done without creating any messes because all the debris cleaned off is sucked into the holding drum.
In addition, the operator does not come into any direct contact with the dirt and debris thus keeping him clean and safe.
Using a vacuum cleaner on gutters makes the cleaning task relatively faster and efficient unlike other methods which are often time-consuming.
The task of vacuuming only takes an average of 30 minutes.
Gutter vacuum cleaning is a very environment friendly method because no cleaning chemicals or solutions are utilized in the process.
The technique only removes debris from the gutters without causing them any harm or to the surroundings.
Ease of operation
Gutter vacuuming is an easy task that most people can do, even the elderly who might have a problem with heights and ladders.
The attachments make the cleaning operation easier to do, all at the safety of the ground.
Not very effective in cleaning.
Gutter vacs remove debris from gutters through suction which is only possible for loose debris. The vacuum is unable to suck up grime and dirt that is really stuck inside the gutters. The technique is only effective in removing loose debris.
During or after vacuuming gutters, one might end up with sore joints and muscles especially the neck. This is because one is forced to keep their head for long up when cleaning high places. The same can happen to your arms due to holding the attachments up for an extended period of time.
Can be inconvenient
Gutter cleaning professionals use industrial-grade gutter vacuums to efficiently clean gutters. Retail-grade vacuums aren’t as powerful as professional-grade equipment, so they may underperform and be damaged by large amounts of twigs and other debris.
Not 100% ladder free
Gutter vacuums make your system easy to clean without using a ladder. However, you can’t clean what you can’t see. That’s why you may still be tempted to use a ladder to ensure you got all the dirt and debris. This exposes you to the risks of having to use a ladder while going up to inspect.
Costly Compared to other gutter cleaning methods
Vacuums, be they retail or professional-grade, cost more than other gutter cleaning tools. If you’re hiring a pro vacuum cleaner, the price will even be more.
How to make a Gutter Vacuum attachment (DIY)
Following is a video showing the steps to create your own gutter vacuum attachment at home.