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It is extremely important to clean the gutters on your home at least once a year. Twice a year is even better. You don’t want to skip it. Why?
Gutter cleaning is one of those small home maintenance jobs that keeps other bigger and badder things from happening.
However, it can be a bit expensive to hire someone to clean the gutters for you. For our smaller home, it would run about $100 per gutter cleaning.
So I tried to do it myself.
Things were going well and I successfully cleaned out our gutters on the two sides of the house that I could reach with our ladder.
However, it became apparent rather quickly that the other half of our house is two stories up and our regular ladder couldn’t reach. Not by a long shot.
But I still wanted to save our family some money and take care of the gutter cleaning myself so the frugal side of me started looking for solutions.
As luck would have it, there was a 22 foot extension ladder for sale for fifty percent off at Lowe’s, bringing the price to only $100.
By getting a 22′ extension ladder, I could clean the gutters myself and we’d break even after one use. And then we’d start saving $100 per use after that!
So my solution was: I could use my existing ladder to clean the two sides of the house that were only one story high. It’s a very light aluminum ladder so it’s easy for me to carry and handle myself. Then I could use the new really tall one for the other two sides.
Supplies needed for cleaning your own gutters
- Regular ladder
- 22′ ladder (if you have any two-story sides to your home)
- heavy duty gloves
- A second person (required for any two-story sides to your home)
- leaf blower (optional)
Steps for cleaning your own gutters
Step 1: Make sure you pick a day with good weather.
Windy days are too dangerous for climbing ladders imho. Just wait it out-the leaves will still be there when you have a nicer day. And if it’s a cold day, wear warm waterproof gloves.
If you put this off and it’s freezing outside, you may be pulling out icy leaf hunks like this:
Step 2: Level your ladder on the ground every time before you climb it.
This is another super important rule to follow if you’re going to be climbing a ladder.
When the ladder is propped up against your house, it should be angled so at least half a foot is above gutter (which usually means the gutter hits a little above the last rung on my ladder).
IMPORTANT: Both sides of the ladder at the top AND both sides of the ladder on the ground need to be solidly in place. If it wiggles at all, do not climb the ladder until you fix it.
I’ve found that it helps to get the two sides at the top resting solidly first, and then move the feet around until they are as well. When I think I have it right, I’ll jump on the bottom rung of the ladder a few times to get it more firmly in place and shake it a little to test that it really is snugly in place at the top and bottom.
If the ground is uneven, it may require some tweaking with a paver or brick. In this case, be sure to bring in your second person to hold the ladder whenever the ground is uneven-even if you think you’ve fixed it with something.
Climb the ladder and use gloves to pull out big handfuls of the leaves and any much in your gutters. If you have a partner holding the ladder, try not to throw the stuff down on them. 🙂
Step 3: Use the 22′ extension ladder for the two-story sides of the house.
So, when I ordered this monster of a ladder online, I had no real understanding of how heavy it would be. Or how difficult it would be to prop it against the house once it was extended to its full length.
It turned out that I couldn’t do this project alone, but my hubby came to the rescue.
After climbing that ladder with my husband holding the bottom, I would like to insist that anyone taking on this project with a 2-story home MUST do it with a second person to help.
Here’s the view from the air up there:
Step 4 (Optional): Use the leaf blower to clean out any residual dirt or leaves as you make your way around the house.
If you’re feeling really ambitious, you can use a leaf blower to get those gutters spotless. I also use it to take fewer trips up the ladder. It allows me to blow leaves out much further down the length of the gutter, especially if the leaves are dry.
You can breathe easy now that your gutters are clean for another season.
Update: It’s now 2021 and my husband has been helping me clean the gutters for 4 years. I’d say that $100 purchase has saved us over $700 on gutter cleanings in that time. And the savings continue.
It’s nice to be able to clean the gutters whenever we want and however often we want.