As a responsible homeowner, you know that cleaning your gutters is an essential part of home maintenance. When you gutters are free of clogs and debris, the runoff water from rain and ice can flow down into your downspouts and away from your home’s foundation. Most experts recommend gutter cleaning at least twice per year.
But here’s the decision every homeowner wrestles with: should you clean your gutters yourself or hire a professional to do it for you? And is there really a difference in terms of thoroughness between the two options?
Let’s examine this question more closely…
How You Clean Your Gutters
If you’re like most homeowners who adopt the do-it-yourself approach, you grab your ladder and climb up to your roofline. Depending on what type of debris is sitting in your gutters, you may choose to take a garden hose with a sprayer attachment and break up soggy blockages. If you’re faced with mostly dry leaves and pine needles, a heavy-duty vacuum with a pole extension might be enough to suck all of the debris out. Or you may simply go with the tried-and-true method of scraping out the gunk by hand with a spade, scoop, or similar tool.
How Professionals Clean Your Gutters
Now let’s look at how professionals handle the job. A competent gutter cleaning service will invest in specialized equipment to make the job easier for their servicemen. Some of them use industrial-strength (or even truck-mounted) vacuums with gutter-sized attachments, while others have extremely strong power washers to blast clogs out.
Some companies utilize what is known as “wet-dry” technology, which allows workers to alternate between power washing and vacuuming to remove all types of debris. And, last but not least, gutter cleaning pros will pick up all of the cleaned-out debris, put it into garbage bags or drums, and perhaps even haul it away.
One thing that most gutter cleaners will do — that homeowners may not — is to clean the outsides of the gutters. This may involve scrubbing with a mechanical brush, washing with steam cleaners, and polishing by hand to remove moss, black marks, and algae that often appear on gutter exteriors. Along the way, gutter cleaning personnel will inspect your gutters for signs of rust, holes, or seam separations.
Generally speaking, professionals will clean your gutters more thoroughly and effectively than the typical do-it-yourselfer. But that’s to be expected, since they’re charging you money for the service.
So in the end, there’s a choice to be made: do you take the time to clean the gutters yourself and do an adequate job? Or do you shell out some money to have someone else do it better? Only you can make that decision — and it will be different for everyone.