When autumn rolls around, and the leaves start falling, it’s a good sign that it’s time to clean your gutters.
Many people don’t look forward to this labor-intensive project because it involves getting up on a ladder and scooping dead leaves, debris, and much out of the gutter. But can you use a pressure washer to speed the process along?
Can You Pressure Wash the Outside of Gutters?
You can use a pressure washer with a special gutter wand to get rid of the caked-on debris on the outside of your gutters. This is a hook-like curve attachment, and it allows you to walk around the perimeter of the house and spray your gutters on the outside while you stay safe on the ground. This is a much easier and safer way to finish this project.
You want to know the steps you should take to pressure wash your gutters, the safety precautions that are important, and some pointers to help you get the job done right below.
Steps to Pressure Wash Your Gutter Exteriors
The process of pressure washing the outside of the gutters is relatively straightforward. We’ll outline the steps for you to follow below.
Put your outdoor furniture away from your gutters and home before you start, and make a point to remove vegetation or cover your plants or flowers that are close to the gutters.
Clear a pathway that you can easily walk through when you pressure wash your gutters because you’ll look up and focus on cleaning. The goal is to have the clearance so that you don’t trip over anything.
Put on safety gear like safety glasses. Since you’re cleaning gutters that are above your head, water and debris can rain down on you and get into your eyes if you’re not careful.
Attach a telescoping wand or extension to your pressure washer hose because this allows you to reach up high where your gutters are without using a ladder.
You don’t want to use a pressure washer while you’re standing on a ladder because the force the pressure washer generates will create a powerful recoil that can easily put you off balance.
This is why you should use a telescoping wand, and you can easily adjust the wand’s length to reach the outside of your gutters.
The next step is to pick out the correct attachment and put it on the end of the telescoping wand, and there are a few you can consider for this project.
The most common one people use will curve to form a U-shape that mimics the look of a hook. The bend in the attachment’s design lets the nozzle reach all areas of the exterior and interior of your gutter to remove any debris.
You can also get wand attachments that feature two horizontal nozzles that let you spray the water right and left. This attachment is very efficient when it comes to cleaning gutters because they clear both sides at one time.
Once you can’t see any debris anymore, you should rinse the gutters with water from the pressure washer. Start with the downspouts first, and the water jet from this unit should be able to clear any debris and dislodge any items that can get stuck. When you finish, go to the rest of the gutters.
Now, you could also have questions like should you use an electric or gas model and which PSI rating is sufficient.
Generally speaking, you can use an electric pressure washer that puts out 1,500 PSI and have it be more than sufficient. Getting a gas pressure washer with a PSI of 3,000 is expensive and not really necessary for this project, and they require more ongoing maintenance.
Add detergent to your pressure washer and spray the outside of the gutters. Washing them with a detergent mix will help loosen up any stuck-on debris and dirt, and this makes them much easier to rinse clean when you finish.
Rinse any remaining detergent from the outside of the gutters using normal water. Since you got rid of debris, the water should just run down and drip off into the ground.
Clean up any debris that ended up on the ground when you cleaned your gutters. You can attach the water broom attachment to allow the pressure washer to sweep them away without causing any damage to the surrounding area. The broom has three or more nozzles that expand how far your spray reaches. Spray and sweep all of the debris into a pile to toss.
Why It’s Important to Clean Your Gutters
Cleaning the gutters is one of the many maintenance chores you should do at least once a year around your house. Not doing it can be a very costly mistake as you can end up with damaged gutters or water damage to your house.
So, your gutters could get backed up by debris or leaves that causes the water to overflow. The extra weight of whatever is in the gutters can cause them to break or sag, and this can cause the water to pool by the foundation. It can also cause damage to the soffits, fascias, and walls.
You also have to think about what happens when the debris freezes in the gutters during the winter months. The extra weight can pull the gutters right off of the wall, and this leaves you open to runoff during the spring months.
When is the Best Time to Pressure Wash Gutters
You want to pressure wash your gutters at least on an annual basis, and the best time to tackle this project is during the late fall months after all of the leaves drop or early winter before the snow rolls in.
You’ll want to make a point to clear the leaves out before the rain comes so that the water drains out of the downspout correctly, and make sure you dig out any debris before it starts to freeze, so you don’t have a mess in the spring.
Some people like to clean the gutters three or four times every year, and it depends on the surroundings and your home. If you live by a lot of trees that drop leaves, it could be a good idea to adopt this cleaning schedule. The same goes for trees with pine needles because the pine needles can easily clog the gutters.
What is the Correct PSI to Wash Gutters with a Pressure Washer?
Generally speaking, having a pressure washer with a 1,500 PSI should be more than enough to clean the gutters. You can wash most things around your home using a pressure washer with 1,500 to 2,000 PSI.
You also want to test out the pressure washer on a smaller area of your gutters to ensure that you don’t scratch, chip, or damage the surface.
You can clean several things using a pressure washer on your home’s exterior, including the outside and inside of your gutters. It makes the job go much quicker, and it can be safer than climbing on a ladder.
Following the steps we laid out can help ensure that you get clean gutters and prevent overflow.