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  • Writer's pictureColorado Gutter Professionals

Fast, Easy Guide to Cleaning Gutters with Pressure Washers

Gutter cleaning is an important but often overlooked home maintenance task. Clogged gutters can cause water damage, foundation issues, and roof rot. A pressure washer is the most effective method for clearing debris from gutters and downspouts. This comprehensive guide will cover everything you need about gutter cleaning with a pressure washer.

Cleaning Gutters with Pressure Washers
Cleaning Gutters with Pressure Washers

Article Outline

Why is Gutter Cleaning Important?

  • Prevent water damage and moisture issues - Clogged gutters cause water to pool and seep into your home. This can lead to mold, flooded basements, damaged walls, and more. As a gutter cleaning professional in Denver, I'd say at least 50% of my business comes from homeowners needing to fix water damage from clogged gutters. Keeping them clear prevents so many headaches down the road.

  • Avoid foundation problems - Standing water can settle around the foundation and cause cracks, shifting, and erosion. Our clay-heavy soil in Denver means water pooling near the foundation is disastrous. I've seen firsthand how clogged gutters that spill water next to the foundation lead to bowed basement walls and cracks.

  • Prevent rot and wood damage - Overflowing gutters leak water behind fascia boards, soffits, and trim. This moisture rots the wood. Rotted wood isn't just an eyesore; it also attracts woodpeckers, which will further damage the area while building nests.

  • Improve curb appeal - Clean gutters make your home look cared for and add value when it comes time to sell. I always tell homeowners to check their gutters when listing their homes. It's an easy fix that makes a big difference in how tidy and well-maintained a home appears.

  • Reduce the risk of pests - Bugs, rodents, and other pests are attracted to debris-filled gutters. Keep them away by regularly cleaning. One client had hornet's nests under the eaves due to an overflowing gutter - not an ideal home selling point!

Why Use a Pressure Washer for Gutter Cleaning?

Pressure washers are the ideal gutter cleaning tool because:

  • Powerful enough to blast away leaves, dirt, and debris that normal hoses can't. I'm constantly amazed at how stubborn gunk-like packed leaves or mud daubers' nests will laugh off a regular hose spray. But even the toughest debris is no match for a good pressure washer!

  • Reach second-story gutters from the ground with a pressure washer wand or attachment. No ladder is required! As someone who isn't thrilled about heights, I love that I can clean most two-story homes without removing an extension ladder. Pressure washer wands are a game changer for gutter cleaning safety and ease. 

  • A high-pressure stream can dislodge stuck-on gunk and clear out downspouts. Over time, leaves and debris cling to gutters and downspouts' insides. Standard hoses just push the debris around without lifting it free, but pressure washers have the oomph to blast it all loose.

  • Adjustable tips and pressure let you customize the spray for different cleaning tasks. Being able to pivot the wand, swap out tips, and control the pressure output is so helpful for navigating every nook and cranny around the home exterior during a gutter cleaning.

  • Save hours of time and elbow grease compared to hand-scooping debris. Cleaning gutters manually is a slow, laborious process. With a pressure washer, I can finish in a fraction of the time without wearing out my arms from scooping and hauling debris!

Are there any Negatives to Using a Pressure Washer to Clean Your Gutters?

The short and sweet answer is Yes.

  • Cleaning gutters with a pressure washer is only safe once night temperatures have reached above freezing. If you take the chance and use water to clean the gutters when temperatures are still dipping, you run the risk of ice buildup. Plus, you almost always get a bit wet when cleaning the gutters, so it is much better when warm outside.

  • Cleaning gutters with a pressure washer: If they’ve been painted (not by the manufacturer), you risk causing the paint to start chipping, and your gutters will look worse than when they were dirty. They will be clean and working great, but curb appeal is important, too.

  • The high pressure of the pressure washer equipment can also damage steel gutters if rust is already starting to form. The jet of water hits one of those weak areas, and now you have a hole to repair.

Gutter Cleaning Pressure Washer Equipment

To clean gutters with a pressure washer, you'll need:

  • Pressure Washer - With at least 2000 PSI and 1.5-2 GPM flow rate. Electric or gas models work fine according to your budget and preferences. I use a gas-pressure washer because I often work at home without outdoor electrical outlets. 

  • Extension Wands—Use a wand between 4 and 8 feet to reach most residential gutters from the ground. I recommend investing in a good carbon fiber extension wand rather than the cheaper metal ones. They're lighter and easier to maneuver into those high spaces.

  • Angle Nozzle Tip—A 15-45-degree nozzle focuses the spray into the gutter trough. I always keep a 25-degree tip on for gutter cleaning—it's the perfect angle to scour the inside surfaces.

  • Gutter Cleaning Attachment - Attachments that hook over the lip simplify the cleaning process. This is one area where the pros have an advantage over DIYers. However, homeowners can certainly rig up their version with a PVC pipe or something similar.

  • Spray Gun Hook is for quick wand storage while repositioning the ladder. Again, something that just makes the job a bit smoother but isn't an absolute necessity.

  • Ladder - A sturdy household ladder to reach any missed spots. I keep a compact 6-foot ladder that folds up small enough to fit in my trailer. It is handy for getting those last few debris piles the wand can't quite reach.

  • Gutter Cleaning Gloves - Protect your hands from sharp debris. Don't skimp on cheap latex gloves - they rip too easily. Spending a little more on quality nitrile gloves is worth it to keep hands safe from jagged debris and harsh chemicals.

  • Eye Protection - Safety glasses keep high-pressure spray out of your eyes. This is a non-negotiable anytime you're pressure washing. One hospital trip for a damaged cornea will make you a lifelong believer in safety glasses!

How to Clean Gutters with a Pressure Washer

Follow these steps for safe, effective gutter cleaning:

  1. Remove large debris - Scoop out leaves, sticks, and debris with a small shovel first. This prevents clogs. Even with a pressure washer, take a minute upfront to clear out the "easy access" debris. It makes the overall job faster.

  2. Position ladder—Place a sturdy household ladder beneath your spraying area for safety and easy access. Set up the ladder in a starting spot so it's ready to grab when needing a bird' s-eye view.

  3. Connect wand and tip - Attach an angled tip and extension wand to the pressure washer. 15-25 degrees is best. Swapping between straight and angled tips is a breeze once you get used to the quick connector system.

  4. Adjust pressure - Start with a lower PSI and test a small area. Increase as needed to dislodge debris. This is so important to prevent damage, especially in older homes. Starting low and slowly increasing the pressure gives you great control.

  5. Spray gutters clean—Insert the wand into the gutter trough and spray its entire length from one end to the other. Taking it slow and methodically here ensures full coverage inside the gutter.

  6. Flush downspouts - Stick the wand in the opening and spray downspouts until the water runs clear. Angle the wand around to hit the downspout from all sides. Repeat until the emitted water is debris-free.

  7. Check from ladder - Use the ladder to inspect sections up close. Spot-clean any remaining debris. Getting up close lets me see if those tricky corners or low-hanging sections need a second pass.

  8. Inspect drainage - Turn on a hose at full pressure and check that water flows freely through gutters and downspouts. This is the final test to confirm all the gutters and downspouts are 100% clog-free. 

Pressure Washer Gutter Cleaning Tips

  • Always point the wand down into the gutter, not at the roof or fascia. This prevents damage. Keeping the spray aimed inside the gutter is gutter cleaning 101!

  • Take your time and do a thorough job. It takes less than 5 minutes of spraying per 10 feet of gutter. Rushing through just leads to callbacks and frustration if you miss sections. Slow and steady does it.

  • Start on the opposite side of downspouts so they wash debris away from your cleaning area. This little trick helps ensure the downspouts don't immediately clog as you work.

  • Rinse wand tips regularly to prevent clogging. Use a brush to clear stuck debris. Keeping the wand tip free of debris buildup maintains that all-important pressure control. 

  • Allow gutters to fully dry before sealing any leaks. Water will find pinhole leaks and holes more easily. This advice has helped homeowners discover and patch some very elusive gutter leaks over the years.

  • Consider gutter guards or leaf screens after cleaning. They prevent future debris buildup. I always mention gutter protection options to homeowners wanting to stretch the time between professional cleanings.

Don't Have a Pressure Washer? Alternatives for Cleaning Gutters

If you don't own a pressure washer, you can still get the job done with:

  • Garden hose - Use a nozzle to spray inside gutters and flush debris loose. A regular hose can work in a pinch, but takes much more effort and time.

  • Wet/dry shop vacuum - Great for smaller debris and leaves. Reach with extensions. Shop vacs are handy for maintenance, cleaning smaller debris before it builds up.

  • Hand scooping—A small shovel and rubber gloves allow you to remove debris manually. Hand scooping is low-tech, but sometimes it's your only option. Invest in those gloves!

  • Leaf blower - Insert the blower nozzle and blast debris loose. Works best on smaller debris. I keep a portable battery-powered leaf blower in my truck for quick cleanups. It's no pressure washer, but it does the job of removing light debris.

However, these methods require more physical effort and don't clean as thoroughly—a pressure washer blasts away stuck-on gunk in a fraction of the time.

Why Hire a Pro for Gutter Cleaning? 

Cleaning gutters yourself with a pressure washer or other tools can be dangerous if you aren't experienced working on ladders. Pros have expertise in:

  • Safely clean gutters on two-story homes without ladders using pole extensions. My gutter cleaning wand securely locks onto extensions up to 18 feet. I can clean most two-story homes from the ground - no ladder!

  • Spot issues like leaks, damage, and sagging that require repair. My experienced eye helps spot problems homeowners often miss. I always point out any necessary repairs or trouble areas.

  • Clean gutters thoroughly, including roofs, downspouts, and high areas. Use specialized tools to access the clean regions difficult for DIYers to reach.

  • Bag and dispose of all debris so you don't have to haul it away. Part of my full-service cleaning includes hauling away all the debris so clients don't have to deal with the mess!

Typically, Colorado Gutter Professionals’ crew cleans the gutters by removing the debris by hand or with a blower since that can be done all year. However, if you want someone to pressure wash your gutters, downspouts, and drains, request our Pressure Washing Gutter Cleaning pricing from May through September. 

Hiring pros to clean your gutters typically costs $200 for a single-story home. However, the price varies depending on the size of your home.

It's smart to have gutters cleaned in spring and fall when debris is heaviest. Forgetting just one season can mean a big clog! I recommend my clients schedule annual cleanings in April and November to keep their gutters debris-free.

Key Takeaways on Pressure Washing Gutters

  • Prevent leaf and debris buildup with regular gutter cleaning each season. Blocked gutters cause so many preventable home repairs. Don't let it happen to your most important investment!

  • Pressure washers are ideal tools for blasting away stuck-on gunk. Forget elbow grease—let the power washer do the dirty work!

  • Use wands and angled tips to spray from the ground; no ladder is required! I clean gutters safely from the ground 85% of the time using my pole extensions.

  • Start low and slowly increase pressure to avoid damage. It takes finesse and practice to find the right pressure for each home without causing harm.

  • Flush downspouts until water runs clear. Clogged downspouts back debris right back into the freshly cleaned gutters.

  • Inspect closely and spot-clean any remaining debris. Perfect gutter cleaning takes time and thoroughness. Don't miss those hidden spots!

  • Consider gutter guards to reduce cleaning frequency. Upfront investment in gutter guards saves money over time on cleanings.

Keeping your gutters clear of debris is one of the best ways to protect your home from water damage and foundation problems. Investing in a quality pressure washer will make the dirty job easier. Call a pro like Colorado Gutter Professionals if you need help cleaning your home's exterior and gutters!

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