Can I Build a Gutter Cleaner for My Leaf Blower?

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Accumulated leaf, twig and nut debris makes gutters useless for moving water away from the house. Keeping gutters clean means no more water pouring down over doors and windows or shrubs and soil close to the walls being pummeled by falling sheets of water. Getting the debris out means usually going along with a ladder and removing handfuls one at a time or using a water hose attachment to try to blast out the blockage. Using a leaf blower, however, can be an effective gutter cleaning device and more portable than a long hose attached to a spigot.

Flexible Hose

The best source for a flexible hose to attach to a leaf blower is the accessory section for Shop Vac vacuum cleaners found in most department and hardware store. These hoses are made of sturdy industrial-grade plastic and perfect for outdoor work. The hose comes with a large-mouth fitting for attaching to the vacuum cleaner. Adapting this hose to a leaf blower will make a great flexible all-in-one device for getting up and over into the gutter. Start by removing the attached extension from your leaf blower. These usually have a twist-and-pull mechanism.

Attaching the Hose

Once removed, check the diameter of the blower throat and the hose fitting. If the hose fits over or in the throat, secure with a length of disposable duct tape. If the hose is the same diameter as the throat, though, then a little adaptation is necessary. Cut off the extension coupling from the hose with a sharp utility knife or a power cutter of any sort (ZipIt drilling cutter, small jig saw or table band saw are good for this purpose). There is now a flange the diameter of the fitting. Reduce the diameter until there is a snug fit inside the leaf blower throat. Once making the fit, secure it with duct tape. This procedure means sacrificing the hose for leaf-blower use only in the future and it cannot be used again with the Shop Vac, but purchasing a hose for just this purpose is relatively inexpensive.

Use the Hose to Clean Gutters

Now the gas-powered motor will blast air directionally and makes standing on a ladder and reaching down into the gutter easier. Plus, the hose attachment means cleaner, longer swaths of the gutters at one time than just the distance of your arm's length. Also, with the blower attachment you won't have to put your hands in the muck that builds up with wet leaves. The one safety precaution is to be sure to wear eye protection when using any power tool while on a ladder or in a high place. Reacting suddenly to something in the eye can lead to serious accidents.

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