When the fall begins and the leaves start dropping from the trees and covering your lawn, a leaf blower is the perfect time-saving tool. They allow you to take care of piles of leaves in a fraction of the time it would take if you did it the old-fashioned way with a rake. But what about the leaves that collect in your gutters?
Well, the good news is, if you have a leaf blower – and you enjoy a little bit of DIY – you can quickly rig something up that will clear out your gutters in no time, meaning no more precarious balancing acts on a ladder. If that sounds like something you might like to try, here’s how to make a gutter cleaner from a leaf blower vacuum.
If you want a preview, here’s a video from a very creative DIYer with some great tips for how to do it.
A couple of options for making a gutter cleaner
If you want to make something to clear out your gutter using your leaf blower, you have a few options. We’ll start with the most basic version and then go on to talking about some other ideas you can try.
1. Basic leaf blower gutter cleaner
To make the most basic version, you will need a length of tubing to increase your reach plus something to create the angle necessary to direct the air back down into the gutter to clear out the leaves.
It doesn’t matter what kind of leaf blower you use – gas leaf blowers or backpack leaf blowers are usually the most powerful and will work well, but battery powered leaf blowers or corded electric leaf blowers will work well too.
The simplest materials to use are a length of 2” PVC pipe along with a compatible PVC U-joint. The length of the piping will depend on how high you need to reach. Also, remember to save yourself a 6” length of piping to attach to the other end of the U-joint.
If the piping fits snuggly over the end of your leaf blower’s nozzle, you just need to fix it firmly in place with a few wraps of duct tape.
Fit the U-joint to the end of the long section of pipe and fit the 6” piece of piping that you saved to the other end of the U-joint.
With this simple setup, you will be able to reach up into your gutters and blast any crud out of there from the safety of the ground without the need for any ladders or climbing.
2. If the 2” piping doesn’t fit
You may find that 2” piping doesn’t fit around the nozzle of your leaf blower – in fact, in many cases, it probably won’t.
In this case, you will need to come up with something slightly more elaborate, although still nothing expensive or complicated.
The trick here is to use a rubber reducer. One end fits over the nozzle of your leaf blower while the smaller end goes over the pipe. This will solve the problem of the nozzle size not matching the pipe, but other than this, the setup is the same as for the version above.
3. Gutter vacuum
Another idea is to use a leaf blower with a vacuum function to suck the leaves and other debris out of your gutter rather than blast it all out with air.
The way to build this would be the same as with the first two versions, using PVC piping, a U-joint and, if necessary, a rubber reducer.
There are a couple of points to bear in mind if you decide to make a gutter cleaner that sucks rather than blows.
First, leaf blowers with vacuum capability are designed to suck up leaves and light debris like small twigs from your yard in fall. The leaves usually pass through the blades of the compeller, which doubles as a chipper shredder and reduces the leaves to mulch.
However, if you are using something like this to clean a gutter, since you can’t see into the gutter from the ground, you won’t be able to see what you are sucking up.
If there is something more substantial than leaves or twigs up there, you might end up damaging the compeller blades in your leaf blower, so if you decide to try this, proceed with caution. Also, see #4 below for another solution to this problem.
The second thing to remember is that when using this setup to suck and not blow, there is a good chance of leaves and debris causing a blockage in your piping. For this reason, it is best not to use any glue to fix the pieces in place.
Instead, use something that can be easily removed to allow you to clear any blockages that occur.
4. Attach a mirror
An ingenious solution to the problem of not being able to see what you are sucking or blowing way up in your guttering is to attach a mirror to the tube.
If you can find an old car wing mirror or something similar, this would be perfect. You just need to attach it to the bend of the piping at the end that reaches up to the gutter.
You will then be able to angle it so you can see what you are blowing or sucking from your gutter without having to climb up on a ladder to check. This will also allow you to see if the gutter is clean once the job is done.
There are different ways you can fix a mirror to the tubing, but the key is not to drill and holes in the pipe. If you do, you will lose air pressure and will greatly reduce the effectiveness of your gutter cleaner.
To see how this could work, click the link to the video at the beginning of this post.
No more need for ladders
How you rig up your leaf blower to clean your gutters will depend on the kind of leaf blower you have, how high your gutters are and the materials at your disposal. However, the different versions and tips we have outlined here should give you enough of an idea to be able to create a gutter cleaner that is suited to your home using the materials that are available to you.
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