It’s Autumn and the leaves have begun falling. That’s a telltale sign to get ready to clean your gutters. I don’t think many look forward to this labor intensive project. What a hassle it is to set up a ladder and climb up to scoop dirt and leaves out into a bucket.
I’d rather be sitting inside watching football on the big screen! There’s an easy and fast way to clean your house gutter.
You can use a pressure washer with a gutter wand (hook-like curved attachment) to blast away all the accumulated debris in your gutters. You can just walk around the perimeter of your house and spray the inside of your gutters from the ground. It’s much safer and easier to get the job done.
Let me share with you the tools you’ll need, the safety precautions to keep in mind, the steps to take, as well as some helpful pointers to consider.
Steps For Pressure Washing Gutters
Place outdoor furniture away from your home and gutters. Also, remove vegetation or cover flowers and plants that are situated close to gutters.
Take time to make clear a pathway that you can walk through when pressure washing your gutters. You’ll be looking up and focusing on cleaning. Be sure you have clearance so that you don’t have to worry about tripping over anything.
Debris will fall to the ground. You’ll want to make sure they don’t fall on anything that will give you more work to clean up after. When the job is done, you can simply pressure wash the ground to clean up the debris that fell from the gutters.
Put on safety glasses. Like I said before, you’ll be cleaning gutters, which are obviously above your head. Debris and water WILL fall from up top and may get into your eyes.
Attach an extension or telescoping wand to your pressure washer hose. This will allow you to reach up high to where the gutters hang without having to climb up on a ladder. It is not recommended that you use a pressure washer while on a ladder. The force from the pressure generated from a pressure washer will create a recoil in the wand that can throw you off balance. Using a telescoping wand is just the smart thing to do. You can adjust the length of the wand to extend it to the desired height you want to reach.
Next, put a gutter cleaning wand attachment onto the end of the telescoping wand. There are a couple of different gutter wand attachments that you can use. Most common is an attachment that curves into a U-shape, almost like a hook. The bend allows the nozzle to reach around and inside the gutter to remove debris like leaves and twigs.
There are also wand attachments that have two horizontal nozzles, which allows for water to be sprayed left and right. These are more efficient at cleaning gutters because they clean both gutter sides at the same time.
Rinse the gutters with water using your pressure washer. Start with the downspouts first. The water from the pressure washer should be able to dislodge and clear any debris that might be stuck in the downspouts. After this, work the rest of the gutters.
Now there will be questions like what kind of pressure washer to use. Electric or gas? How many PSI do I need? Let me just say that an electric pressure washer around 1,500 PSI should suffice. Anything more, like a gas pressure washer or one that puts out 3,000 or 4000 PSI will cost you money. They’re more expensive and they’ll require more maintenance. Of course, if you have other things around the house that require more power then go for it.
Wash the gutters with detergent. This washing with detergent soap will loosen up the dirt and debris and make it easier to rinse away with water in the next step.
Rinse the detergent off the gutters with normal water. With all the debris gone, the detergent can just flow into the downspouts.
Clean the debris that fell onto the ground from the gutters. Use the pressure washer to spray and wash the surface. You can use a water broom attachment for the pressure washer to do the job more effectively. The broom will have three or more nozzles that expand the coverage of the spray. Spray and sweep into a corner to pick up and throw away into your trash bin.
Why Clean Your Gutters?
Cleaning your gutters is just one of those many house maintenance chores that you need to do. Neglecting this task can be costly, as damages can incur on not just the gutters themselves but to other areas of your house.
For example, imagine gutters that are so backed up by leaves and other debris that water overflows from them. The extra weight of whatever has been accumulated can create a sag or it may even break the gutters. In addition, the runoff from the water off the sides of the gutters can damage fascias, soffits, and walls.
Similarly, think about when debris freezes when the weather gets cold or when snow falls. The extra weight might take down the gutters around your house. And where would the water from the melted snow drain to once spring turns the corner? Nowhere!
When To Pressure Wash Your Gutters?
Consider pressure washing your gutters at least once a year. The most appropriate time to clean out gutters is during late Autumn after all the leaves have fallen from nearby trees or early winter before the cold storms hit.
You’ll want to clear the leaves before the rains come so that the water drains properly. It’s also a good idea to remove leaves and debris before they freeze over when the cold weather and snow sets in.
Some people like to clean their gutters more often, like 3 or 4 times a year. This really depends on your house surroundings. If you live by a lot of trees you might want to do this, especially if there are a lot of pine trees nearby. Pine tree needles are notorious for clogging up gutters.
How Much PSI Do I Need To Pressure Wash Gutters?
A pressure washer with about 1500 PSI should suffice. Most things around the house can be pressure washed with 1000-2000 PSI pressure washers.
You might find other websites or YouTube videos with people using 3000+ PSI pressure washers. To this I’d say just be careful. That’s a lot of force you’re spraying gutters with. Gutters aren’t as hard or durable as let’s say cement.
It would probably be a good idea to test out any pressure washer on a small inconspicuous area on the surface you’re planning on pressure washing. Check to see if it’s too much pressure that it chips, scratches or damages the surface.
What Kind Of Attachments Should I Use To Pressure Wash Gutters?
You’ll definitely need some sort of extension wand to attach to your pressure washer hose. This will allow you to reach high places without the use of a ladder. There’s a recoil that comes when a pressure washer is in operation, and this can throw off your balance if you’re on a ladder and not careful. With an extension wand, your two feet will be firmly and safely planted on the ground. There’s no fear or risk of falling down and hurting yourself from an unsafe height.
A telescoping wand is an even better choice. Basically, this means the extension wand is adjustable. There are 12 foot, 18 foot and 24 foot telescoping wands that you can buy. If you have a two story house you might want to want to get a 24 foot wand.
There are also wand attachments that you can use. Like I mentioned before, use a gutter wand attachment. It looks like a hook. You connect the gutter wand attachment to the end of the telescoping wand so that you can reach up and into your gutters.
There are gutter wand attachments with a single nozzle and there are also ones with two nozzles. A two nozzle gutter wand attachment might work better in some situations.
For cleanup, consider using a pressure washer broom. If you have a cement walkway or patio that covers select areas of the gutters you’ll be able to blast away all the debris that fell to the ground into a corner for easy sweeping and disposing. You’ll be able to give those ground surfaces a good deep cleaning as well.
Pressure washers can be used to clean many things around your home’s exterior. If you’re planning on cleaning your gutters, consider using a pressure washer rather than scooping out the debris with a trowel. A pressure washer will allow you to safely and quickly clean your gutters by letting you avoid climbing and moving your ladder around the perimeter of your house where your gutters are located. Your gutters will be cleaner because the force of the water will do a much better job of blasting away the dirt, grime, and buildup in your gutters than if you were to manually clean them by hand.