Garden Hose Tips for Cleaning the Gutters

After the last long weekend of summer, it definitely feels like autumn is on its way. Cleaning the gutters is one of those home maintenance chores you want to get done before the season is over. Who wants to be up on a ladder peering into a gutter section on a wet winter’s day trying to figure out why the gutter system isn’t working? And believe it or not, the humble garden hose can help. Here are some garden hose tips for cleaning the gutters more efficiently this fall.

User-Friendly Garden Hose

Turn your garden hose into a user-friendly gutter cleaning tool by selecting the right nozzle for the job. There are a number of different kinds but some are better suited to gutter cleaning than others.

  1. A garden hose with a pistol-grip trigger spray nozzle allows you to hook the hose onto the ladder when you need both hands.
  2. Spray nozzles with adjustable settings are also very useful in controlling the direction of the spray, the spray’s intensity (pressure), and/or the amount of water exiting the nozzle.
  3. If you prefer to clean your gutters from the ground, a garden hose with an attachment designed specifically for gutter cleaning is a workable option when you don’t like heights or want to avoid using a ladder for some other reason. A word of caution, though; attachments manipulated from ground-level work best when the gutters not densely packed with debris.

Begin with the Downspouts

When cleaning the gutter system in the fall, a good strategy is to begin with the downspouts. If the downpipes aren’t debris-free, it can make gutter cleaning more labour-intensive. Use a garden hose to check for clogs inside the downspout by placing it at the top of the downpipe where the gutter connects with the drainage pipe (gutter outlet). It’s a positive sign there are no clogs when the water exits the system quickly in a stream and not slowly in a trickle.

Start with a Scoop

Using a garden hose to jumpstart cleaning the gutters might seem like a quick and easy way to get the chore over and done with. But it can actually make more work for you in the long run if dirt, twigs and other kinds of debris create blockages inside the downpipes.

When organic material builds up in the gutters, it’s fairly easy to spot the clog and to clear it away to get the water flowing again. However, when clogs form in downpipes unless it is visible right at the gutter outlet, they are more difficult to deal with since they’re inside the downspout.

For the best results, manually remove the debris with a gutter scoop or a garden trowel. Then use the garden hose to rinse away residual silt, sludge, and bits of organic material; always spray toward the downspout.

In Between Gutter Cleanings

While using a pressurized stream of water to remove debris from the gutter channel isn’t advisable when debris might become heavier and less manageable if mixed with water, using an on-off high-pressure garden hose nozzle for in between gutter cleanings can indeed speed up the process. For example, you cleaned the gutters in the spring and intend to clean them again early in November, but the gutters have been overflowing the last three times the neighbourhood got a moderate rainfall – you check the gutters for clogs, find one, and make it disappear with the garden hose.