Why You Should Never Power Wash Gutters

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As a property owner in Ireland, it is crucial to maintain your gutters with an annual or bi-annual gutter cleaning service. Regular gutter maintenance ensures that your gutters are kept in good condition while improving the overall aesthetic of the property. Failing to clean your gutters exposes your property to a range of risks including water damage and reduces the lifespan of the gutters. When it comes to gutter cleaning, you may find that there are some companies offering a ‘quick fix’ or ‘affordable’ gutter cleaning solutions that involve power washing the gutters. This method of gutter cleaning should be avoided at all costs. Power washing gutters may seem like an affordable and efficient way to clean them, however, this method causes more harm than good. This blog discusses the risks of failing to maintain your gutters, and why you should never power wash your gutters, while providing a safe and effective gutter cleaning solution; gutter vacuum cleaning.

Risks of dirty gutters

Before we delve into why you should never power wash gutters, we will discuss the risks associated with the failure to get your gutters regularly professionally cleaned. Below are some risks of continuous dirty gutters. It is worth noting that dirty gutters are not limited to the risks we mention below, there are numerous additional risks that may arise.

  1. Water Damage: by definition, gutters are structurally designed to gather and redirect water and debris from the weather and other environmental factors. The idea is to remove the risk of water entering the property. Build up of debris, water, and dirt can result in structural damage to the gutters which allow water to enter the property.
  2. Damage to the Roof: Water and debris that may enter the property following the damage to gutters can cause roof issues. As a property owner, I am sure we don’t need to discuss how expensive roof repair services can be. The magnitude of the roof damage can materialize in a number of ways including slate, water, and underlay damage. All of these contribute to water entering your home in unfavorable areas that can cause mold issues and health impacts.
  3. Pest Infestation: Dirty gutters that are not regularly cleaned are the perfect environment for breeding for pests. The pests themselves cause the risk of structural damage however, more importantly, if your gutter houses pests and has structural damage then the pest can infest your property.
  4. Gutter Lifespan: As mentioned, uncleaned gutters can generate a range of structural and water damage that will need replacing. If the damage is gone too far for a repair service, which in itself can be expensive, then the entire gutter will need to be replaced. Considering the price of replacing your gutter system relative to the price of a high-quality professional gutter cleaning service – it is nonsensical to disregard regular gutter maintenance to avoid long-term unnecessary costs.
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Why power washing is NOT a solution

Although a power washing service is a great and ideal solution to clean some parts of your property such as your pavement, it is absolutely not a solution for gutter cleaning. In fact, if you power wash your gutters you are causing more harm than good, which can lead to avoidable costs in the long-term. As a homeowner, you are responsible for the maintenance of your property. This may seem overwhelming due to the numerous elements that you need to consider before investing in a cleaning service.

Unless you are a professional exterior cleaner, then it is completely justified that you may not understand the risks associated with power washing.  A recently published study in the Journal of Environmental Science and Health found that power washing can cause damage to outdoor surfaces, including gutters. The study showed that high-pressure water can cause erosion, loss of protective coatings, and other types of damage. Below, we note some of the risks associated with power washing gutters:

Power washing risks

Power washing increases the risk of damage to the structure of your gutters

As mentioned, gutters are designed to navigate water and debris away from your property however, the material that gutters are built out of is certainly not designed to take the impact of a power washer. The pressure output of an average power washer lies between 1,500 to 3,000 pounds per square inch (PSI) while the average PVC gutter can endure a pressure of roughly 200 pounds. This is less than 10% of the pressure output of a power washer. It is worth noting that we are using the “average pressure of a power washer” and professional cleaning companies tend to use the most powerful power washers. This means that the pressure output is far greater than 3,000 pounds. Without being a mathematician, it is obvious that the pressure output from an average power washer will cause damage to your gutter, leaving you with costly repairs or replacements.

Roof damage from power washing

A property gutter system tends to be attached to the roof. If you decide to clean your gutters with a power washer, it is nearly impossible to avoid the roof. The pressure output of the power washer will not only damage your gutter, but it will also impact & damage the roof. In this blog we are attempting to describe the dangers associated with power washing your gutters however, we could write an entirely different blog on why you should never power wash your roof. For now, please note that the slates on your roof, its underlay, and overall structural integrity can be massively impacted by a power washer. Additionally, if a roof slate is a power washed it can detach from the roof, which opens an entire range of health risks.

Power washing at a height is dangerous

Moving away from the structural damage that power washing your gutters can cause, we now look at the dangers of power washing from a height. As a homeowner, you should never attempt to clean your gutters via power washing at all, but specifically from a height. Roofs and surrounding areas tend to be slippy and full of debris that can lead to balance problems. The risk of falling from a ladder or while standing on a roof is significantly increased when you are not a professional. Moreover, if you pay a professional cleaning company to power wash your gutters, it is likely that this “professional” company is not insured. Essentially, this means that if they fall or damage themselves, the property owner is liable.

Safe gutter cleaning solutions

A professional cleaning company should never offer power washing as a gutter cleaning solution. You should always question the reliability of a cleaning company that offers this as a service. You should invest in a professional gutter cleaning service once or twice a year, depending on the location and environmental factors surrounding your property. So, now that we covered why you should never power wash your gutters, let’s discuss what the safe gutter cleaning solutions are.

Manual removal of dirt via a ladder

Professional gutter cleaning companies are trained, skilled and insured to work at heights. They have the equipment and experience to manually remove the dirt from your gutter via a ladder. This solution still poses risks as the ladder must rest on the gutter, which can lead to potential damage. However, it is a safer option compared to power washing. We do not recommend this option, but it is safer.

Gutter Cleaning from the ground

The safest and most effective way to clean your gutters is from the ground using a vacuum cleaner. Professional cleaning companies that take their services and client safety seriously will always offer this as a gutter cleaning solution. You can think of a gutter cleaning vacuum as an interior hoover, but it’s specifically designed and manufactured to clean gutters. TheCleaningCompany.ie uses innovative technology to remove the dirt from your gutters without the need for a ladder or heights. Additionally, we have technology that allows our technicians to see inside your gutters from the ground, which ensures that all dirt is removed in a safe and effective manner. All the debris and water is sucked from the gutter and is collected in a vessel that can be safely removed from the property. Your gutters will be left clean, undamaged, and you will not have dirt on the ground or surrounding areas.

Round Up

You are not expected to understand the harmful effects of power washing your gutters and, naturally, you are going to trust “professional cleaning companies” that offer this as a service. Here at TheCleaningCompany.ie we hope that after reading our blog you are more aware of the risks associated with gutter power washing and that you now know of safer solutions. We are the leading gutter cleaning company in Ireland. With thousands of clients and over 550 5-star Google reviews, we are confident that our gutter cleaning vacuum service is the optimal solution for your gutter cleaning needs. If you would like to start your project today, please get in touch!

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