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Life Experience

Keeping gutters clear – my experience

When I lived in an old cottage it was a very simple matter to clear the gutters because they were less than eight feet off the ground. All I needed was a short step ladder and I could reach in and use a trowel to dig out any debris.

Since I moved into a normal two-storey house the high gutters are more of a challenge. I don’t feel very secure going up so high. Since moving to this house I have only twice gone up a ladder to deal with a gutter. Once to clear a stretch, and once to install a “hedgehog”.

Gutter hedgehogs. Do they work?

I bought several metres of these bristly brushes, which fit snugly in the gutter, from Coopers of Bishop’s Stortford. The idea is that leaves and moss, rather than filling up the gutter, will settle on the bristles and be blown off by the wind.
A few days ago I asked a gutter cleaning operative to remove the small stretch of hedgehog that I had installed two or three years ago. You can see from my photograph that it is clogged up with moss, leaves, and other debris. Some leaves must have blown away, but others got stuck in the bristles. I think this has helped to block the gutters! So my conclusion is that “hedgehogs” are not the perfect solution to keeping gutter water flowing as I had hoped they would be.

Gutter hedgehog blocked with leaves and moss

Other methods of clearing gutters

It has been obvious to me for more than a year that my gutters really were in urgent need of clearing out. When we have torrential rain there have been three places where water has overflowed the gutters and poured down the walls, something which is very bad for the fabric of the house and likely to lead to the ingress of water into the building structure.

My gutter cleaning problem is probably worse than that of most people because there are oak trees quite close to the house and from October to December leaves descend on the house and choke the gutters. The east side of the house is shaded by the oak trees and this seems to encourage the growth of moss on the roof tiles. After some time, birds get to work on the moss and scratch it down into the gutters.

Although workmen are insured to work at the top of ladders I haven’t felt happy about sending men up these precarious pieces of equipment. A solution I tried a few days ago was to employ a firm which cleared gutters up to three storeys high using a vacuum system, working with lightweight but long-reach tubes attached to a powerful vacuum cleaner that can suck out dry and wet debris.

 

Suction gutter cleaning

A leaflet came through my door from a firm called GutterPro and I decided to try them. I think there are other firms around that use the same system. I tried to book an appointment online. The website was good for getting a quote but when I tried to make a booking the website rejected my application three times so I decided to book by phone. That was quick and simple and a few days after my call the operative arrived at the appointed time.

The work begins by attaching a video camera to the end of a long to explore and reveal the contents of the gutters and to see if, if in fact, they need cleaning at all. It’s their company policy to show customers the state of the gutters before and after work has taken place to clear them.

After a bit less than two hours work the job was done. The gutters were clear. I asked about whether downpipes had been cleared and was told that clearing could only go as far as the first bend which of course is not very far.

We have had some very heavy downpours since the gutters were cleaned and the water has flowed much more quickly into my water butts and has stopped overflowing the gutters where there used to be problems.

GutterPro seems an effective and efficient and courteous firm and I will certainly use them again when problems show themselves with my gutters.
Prices seem to range from about £80 for a small house to £110 for a five bedroom house with a conservatory to clear gutters. There is a similar price for cleaning the outside of gutters. There are special prices if you have both jobs done at the same time. I had only the clearing done. All the details can be found online. By the way, this is an unsolicited and unrewarded recommendation. I’m sure they don’t need my support. They have a huge positive response from their customers.

Have a look at the hedgehog pictures. My photograph of the GutterPro flyer has a phone number which probably doesn’t cover the whole country. If you are interested here is a link to their website. GutterPro link.

David Roberts
davidrobertsblog.com

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David Roberts

Writer, publisher, music promoter

Born in 1942, I now have time to enjoy life more widely and reflect on my experience, interests, and contemporary events.

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