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How to clean your gutters – dadand style.

I don’t recommend any of you actually try this. I know that’s something that’s usually fine print, but in this case I made it headline material.

So.. you’re sitting around with friends on a very rainy sunday afternoon enjoying a few beverages watching the water cascade over your VERY HIGH gutters like Niagara Falls. It’s been a problem for a long while and definitely has been on your mind as something to fix one of these days. Obviously the downspout is clogged but you don’t have a mega-long ladder to climb up so you can reach it.

Suddenly, one of you (me) says, “I’ve got an idea how we can fix that.”

Famous last words right? Next stop Darwin Awards, 10 million YouTube views, and a web redemption on Tosh.O

Here’s the plan.

We BLAST out the blockage with the hose. Too bad we don’t have a long, stiff hose (come on, grow up) to reach up there. Well, it’s KINDA near that upstairs window… the gears are turning… I think I can MacGyver something to reach up there.

Step 1: Rummage around the basement and find that you just happen to have an 8-foot length of 1 1/2″ PVC pipe.

Take off the nozzle, feed the hose through the PVC pipe, and reattach the nozzle. Now you can just use that little flippy clip thing that makes the nozzle stay on, reach it up there, and blow out the blockage.

There I am holding the pipe and hose while trying to attach the nozzle.

Step 2: Blow out your spleen, I mean the gutter.

After two tries you realize that you’re going to strain every muscle in your body, get a hernia, and probably blow out your spleen trying to lean out a window and hoist a heavy hose blasting water like a jet-engine 10 feet out and hold it steady enough to get a consistent blast force going. Oh, all while trying to grip to hardwood floors with your little toesies so you don’t fall out. Well, at least if you do fall out maybe you can grab that pergola on the way down to help break your fall, WAIT A MINUTE… A pergola.

I think I did internal damage contorting like this.

Step 3: Go out the window.

This is when the friends and your girlfriend start to get nervous.

Ok, run down to the basement again, find leftover deck boards from the deck you built last summer (score another point for the wood hoarder), and lay them across the pergola so you have something to walk on.

Balancing and getting my stack of boards from the window.

Step 4: Climb, balance, and blast.

Now we’re talking. With the first good blast you can hear the water GUSH down the downspout like an enormous toilet flushing.

And the blockage is gone.


Now you can rinse and rinse for as long as you can stand being on a pergola in the rain.

The least fun part, rinsing more gunk out.

Step 5: Smile like an idiot and wave.

Me smiling like an idiot.


You might be thinking, “Wow, Pete. That’s a lot of electric lights touching that wet pergola by your bare feet.” You’d be right, those were the canopy lights left over from the surprise party Emily at threw for my birthday and they were unplugged.

I’m not sure if Emily was shooting pics so I could write this post or if she was gathering evidence, but I’m glad she did.

Ever gotten a great idea and had to execute it right then and there even though you were being heckled by your friends who were still enjoying beverages? Leave a comment and share.


  • Frank P

    The PVC is a great idea. I may buy a length just for this, to supplement my usual method. 1: Wait until it’s raining, really pouring. 2: Suit up in just t-shirt, swim trunks, shoes with good traction. 3: Pull out telescoping ladder and climb up to garage roof. 4: Keep one hand and both feet on roof whenever possible, stay low, balance. Pretending you’re Spider-man helps. 5. Make way to each gutter and clean ’em out by hand. Yes, by hand. 6. This is the hard part. With brute strength alone, haul ladder up onto the garage roof. 7. Position ladder as safely as possible. Climb to higher sections of roof and repeat.


  • Heather

    I do all my best backyard projects and crafty inside projects on the day we are having a bunch of friends over for a BBQ.

    In similar style, I like to wait until the snowiest, windiest day in December to put up our outdoor Christmas lights. My neighbors get a kick out of it, why disappoint them?


  • Mark W.

    Pete, We like you alot……and want you to stay in one piece….glad to see that your device worked out……but please get a good long ladder. Mark and Diane


    • Pete Fazio

      I borrowed a long ladder days later to climb up and take a look and THAT was TERRIFYING. Bouncy ladder, vertigo, shortness of breath. I liked standing on the pergola.


  • Mark Winters

    Oh yeah….I remember that bouncy scary part too. It’s all coming back to me now from my house painting days….


  • Daniel Peacock

    I had a similar idea/solution for the same issue. I used a length of PVC that would be rigid enough to not flex but at the same time light enough to hold. Then, I glued 45 and 90 degree elbows connected by short pieces of PVC to create a hook at the end of the PVC. Then connected my Shopvac to the ground end of the PVC using a flexible rubber connecter and two hose clamps. Let the sucking begin! So instead of a $200 ladder and me dreading going up that high, I’ve got the wonderment of my neighbors. The whole thing cost me $12 from HD, the rest i had laying around.


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