Gutter cleaning (well, hiring gutter cleaners) time again

When I first bought my duplex, I was aware that gutter cleaning was one of those things that responsible homeowners did every fall — to prevent ice dams on the roof, and as a measure of general maintenance. My boss, who also lived in a two-story home, told me that it was really easy, and there was no reason that I couldn’t do it myself. So, I got a friend with a van to take me to Menards to buy a 30-foot extension ladder, and talked myself out of my fear of heights. If my boss could do it, so could I. One blustery day, I got up the confidence to go outside and clean some gutters. After figuring out how to get the ladder to stay in its extended position, I made my way up to the roof, and successfully cleaned out the gutters on each side of the ladder. I carefully climbed down, and endeavored to move the ladder down the side of the house… and that’s where things started going badly. A 30-foot extension ladder isn’t exactly light, and when it’s extended to its full length, it’s a little unwieldy. A lot unwieldy if you’re me. While I believe that women are quite capable of most things, I simply wasn’t strong enough to be in control of this giant ladder. And it fell. On top of me. Which is arguably better than me falling off the ladder, but still relatively unpleasant. Luckily the ladder didn’t fall into the neighbors window, or onto my car, or anything else that could be broken. I quickly decided that gutter cleaning wasn’t for me. I un-extended the ladder, and stowed it away by the side of the house, where it sat untouched for about four years. I found some yard and garden services advertising for gutter cleaning in the back of my neighborhood newspaper, and one guy who was willing to come out that day, for $100 plus tax. Which I think is COMPLETELY worth it.

I called the same guy for the next two years, but then found someone who was only $80 the third year (still licensed and insured). I somehow forgot all about it last year (bad homeowner!), and this year when I went to dig through my receipts and find the guy I called two years ago, I found his invoice, with ABSOLUTELY NO contact information on it. What a missed opportunity! If I was a person who cleaned gutters, not only would I have my contact info on my invoices, I would be calling every one of my contacts every fall to get them on the schedule. After all, it needs to be done every year… The original gutter cleaning guy’s number didn’t work any more, which I take to mean that they went out of business. This year, I went online to service magic to find a new contractor. Interestingly, I discovered that window cleaning services also often clean gutters (I guess they already have the ladders and are used to heights?) I found someone who could come out the same day, for $125 plus tax. Which is a little more than my previous guys, but still totally worth not having to fight with that ladder…

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3 thoughts on “Gutter cleaning (well, hiring gutter cleaners) time again

  1. Wow, I didn’t realize how much money I actually save on this. My handyman said he’d do it for like $40-50, and I did it myself anyway, borrowing a neighbor’s ladder. I’m okay with it, at this point.

  2. Yes, we help folks find contractors like Service Magic does, so we see a lot of people coming to submit requests for gutter cleaning.

    Always make sure they are insured. Don’t just take their word for it. If they happen to fall of their ladder, on your property, and they’re not covered… you could be liable for it. Make sure to check the insurance coverage thoroughly, in person, and not someone telling you about it.

    It’s easy to believe it won’t happen to you, but these things can come back to haunt you.

  3. I use a sthil leaf blower with a gutter cleaning kit. I can get all of my gutters from the ground except one area that is taller than two stories.

    For that area I use a power washer with an extending wand and a gutter cleaning tool on the tip. It works well. It’s an expensive solution but as I mentioned in a previous post I have a lot of problems getting people to come and do small jobs.

    A word of caution. When you put the wand in storage make sure all the water is drained out. I turn mine upside down and pull the trigger open and leave it that way until all the water has drained out. If you do not do this the water will either freeze in there or it will corrode the mechanisim to the point where you will have to install a overhaul kit.

    A good extension wand will cost between $150-$200. You can get them at . In my case it’s worth the cost. One last thing. If you go this route you WILL get very wet doing it so do it on a warm fall day.

    One last thing and I really am gone. I also use the extending wand to power wash the vinyl siding on my house. In the past it cost me about $250 to get this job done professionally so the wand paid for itself the first time I used it.

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