- Save Money By Cleaning Your Gutters
- Why Is Cleaning Your Gutters Important?
- How Often Should You Clean Your Gutters?
- Professional Gutter Cleaning Cost
- What to Look for When Hiring a Gutter Cleaning Professional
- How Much Does It Cost to Clean Your Gutters Yourself?
- Are There Tools to Clean Gutters From the Ground?
- Break-Even Analysis
- How to Clean the Gutters Yourself
Save Money By Cleaning Your Gutters
If you’ve got a house with an eavestrough or gutter system, then eventually it’s going to need to be cleaned. Falling leaves, sticks, debris, and other foreign objects can find their way into the channels and eventually prohibit water flow unless you clean them out from time to time.
Though many homeowners will often take on this job themselves, it’s also a service that can be contracted out. But does it make sense to do so financially?
What we’re going to cover in this article:
- Why cleaning your gutters is important
- How often you should clean your gutters
- Cost to hire a professional to clean your gutters
- What to look for in a professional gutter cleaner
- Cost to clean the gutters yourself
- Tools to clean the gutters from the ground
- Financial Breakeven Analysis
- How to clean the gutters yourself
Why Is Cleaning Your Gutters Important?
The purpose of your home’s gutter system is to remove rainwater and melted snow from your roof. As mentioned in our home maintenance guide, problems with your gutters can lead to thousands in damages. Logically, if the channels of your gutter system become blocked, then water will not be able to flow away from your house and this can lead to the following problems:
- Moisture build-up along your roofline and walls
- Overwatering and destruction of the landscaping directly below your roofline
- Water damage along your foundation and basement
- Potential mold growth
- Creates a place for rodents and pests to burrow
- Stagnant water where mosquitoes can breed
- Sagging eavestroughs that will eventually need repair
By keeping your gutter system clear, you can avoid all of these issues since the water will be able to safely run off away from your home and foundation.
How Often Should You Clean Your Gutters?
Most home maintenance experts recommend that you should clean your gutters at least twice per year. This would be once in the spring (once the snow has melted) and again in the fall (after leaves have fallen).
Ideal months to clean your gutters
- Springtime: April before the “April Showers”
- Fall: November, as that allows enough time for the leaves to have fallen
If you live in an area with a lot of trees or pine needles, then you should consider increasing your cleaning schedule every 3 months. This is because there will be more falling debris and higher chances that these objects will get caught in your gutter system.
Professional Gutter Cleaning Cost
If cleaning your gutters is a job that you’d like someone else to do for you, then there are plenty of services that can do this for you.
According to Home Advisor, the national average cost is approximately $157. Single-story homes may cost between $70 and $200 whereas folks with two-story homes can expect to pay between $90 and $225 per job.
There are many reasons why a homeowner might wish to have this service contracted out:
- Busy schedule
- Doesn’t have the right equipment
- Afraid of heights
- Would rather not deal with the mess
What to Look for When Hiring a Gutter Cleaning Professional
If you do decide you’d like to pay someone to clean your gutters for you, then be sure to look for the following when interviewing potential contractors:
- Reputation – Does the contractor come recommended by someone you know? Do they have any online reviews (either positive or negative)?
- Experience – How long has the contractor been in business?
- Insurance – If an accident does happen, will the contractor have the proper liability insurance to cover it?
How Much Does It Cost to Clean Your Gutters Yourself?
If you’d like to take on the job of cleaning your gutters, then the good news is that there is very little investment required. Typically, as long as you have a dependable ladder, a bucket, some gloves, and a garden hose, then you have all of the tools you need to get the job done. If you wanted to a little more of an investment, there are a number of useful gutter specific tools you can purchase for under $50 to help. As an estimate, we’ll say this equipment should cost:
- Single-Story Home = $100 (since you’ll need a small ladder)
- Two-Story Home = $200 (since you’ll need a larger extension ladder)
Since we also want to put a value on your time, we should also consider your labor rate. Because the average median income in the U.S. is $63,179, we could estimate that every hour you work is worth approximately $30. As an estimate, we’ll say the total labor cost is:
- Single-Story Home = 1 hour = $30
- Two-Story Home = 2 hours = $60
Are There Tools to Clean Gutters From the Ground?
If you don’t want to pay someone but also don’t want to climb up on a ladder, no problem. There are a number of telescoping tools that you can use to unclog your gutters from the ground. See our favorites here.
Using these figures, we can easily calculate how many times we’d have to clean the gutters ourselves before this equipment would be effectively paid for.
Given these assumptions, we can calculate the Break-Even Point to be:
Upfront Capital Cost / Annual savings of DIY vs. DIFM
Annual Savings of DIY vs. DIFM = Commercial Cost less DIY Cost
- Single-Story Home = $100 Upfront Investment / ($135 Commercial Cost – $30 Your Time Value) = ~ 1 Gutter Cleaning
- Two-Story Home = $200 / ($158 – $60) = ~ 2 Gutter Cleanings
These are extremely fast paybacks, so if you’re looking to save money then gutter cleaning DIY is a good place to start.
How to Clean the Gutters Yourself
If you’d like to try cleaning the gutters yourself, then here’s what to do:
- Wait for a nice day
- Position your ladder or from the ground tools
- Remove the debris
- Break up obstructions
- Flush the gutters
Wait for a Nice Day
It’s always best to do outdoor chores on a day without rain, wind, or snow.
Position Your Ladder
Whether you’re cleaning a one-story or two-story home, be sure to orient the ladder so that its base is secure. Never climb to the last step or over-extend your reach.
Remove the Debris
The best way to start removing leaves, sticks, and other debris is to manually scoop it out by hand. Be sure to wear thick leather gloves so that sticks and pine needles can’t poke through and hurt you. As you scoop the debris out, place it in a 5-gallon plastic bucket that is resting near the edge of the roof.
If you’d like to accelerate the process and you have the right tools, you can also use a:
- Wet / dry vacuum
- Power washer
- Leaf blower
Just be sure to only use these extra tools if you are confident in handling them while on a ladder. If not, stick to the manual operation.
Break Up Obstructions
Because debris in the downspouts can be difficult to reach, it may be useful to use a plumber’s snake to break up any clogs in the system.
Flush the Gutters
When all the debris is removed around the perimeter of the house, take a hose and run it down the eavestrough. If you can see the water exit below, then the channels are clear. However, if you don’t see running water, then you may have to repeat some of the previous steps.
If you’re looking for ways to save money on jobs around the house, then cleaning out the gutters yourself will likely be one of the easier ways to do so. However, if you need or prefer someone else to do it for you, be sure to hire a contractor that’s going to a quality job at a great price.