GUTTER SENSE‘ SPECIFICATIONS
US Patent 6,471,271
Grip Range: Approximately 14 inches
Paddle width: 2-1/2 inches
Monofilament: 100 lbs. test, .040 Inch Copolymer
Materials: Socket/Body/Tongs: glass filled impact modified Nylon, black
Weight: Approximately 6 oz.
Spring: Galvanized music wire
Socket Thread: 3/4" x 5 TPI Acme
GUTTER SENSE‘ FAQS
Q) How often should I clean my rain gutters?
A) In the "Age before Gutter Sense" most people cleaned their gutters twice a year regardless. In many cases, for much of the year their gutters are partially or completely clogged. In the Autumn they may wait weeks for the last leaf to fall because it is too much trouble to get up there and clean them more frequently. Some dedicated homeowners with a lot of trees get up there every other week in the fall trying to keep their gutters flowing, but they are the few and the brave and considering the hazard of that much ladder climbing, perhaps the reckless. Owning Gutter Sense changes all this with the ease of cleaning that this tool brings to the task. So to answer the question, with Gutter Sense you clean as often as needed to keep your gutters flowing. This can be many times a season or every other year depending on your situation.
Q) I have very old narrow gutters. Will Gutter Sense work with them?
A) The paddles on Gutter Sense are 2-1/2" wide. Some very old gutters, while being close to 3 inches wide at the bottom are very narrow at the top. If the roof overhang is close to the gutter or shingles protrude into the gutter you may encounter problems dislodging large clumps of debris. Take smaller bites by closing the tool partially before grabbing debris and subsequently do more frequent cleanings so the tool can more easily exit the gutter with less debris.
Q) I have a hard time yanking out the debris. The shingles seem to get in the way.
A) Sometimes roofers will leave excessive shingle overhang and fail to install edge guards that keep them straight. As a result they may curl down into the gutter impairing access. Either have the excess trimmed or close the tool part way before lowering the tool into the debris to take a smaller bite and follow up with full strokes later. Subsequently clean the gutter more frequently so there will be less debris per bite.
Q) Will Gutter Sense work with round bottom gutters?
A) Since the paddles of Gutter Sense are straight along the bottom, using them in a round bottom gutter will miss some small particles at the very bottom of the gutter. When grasping leaves, especially if they are a little wet, they tend to bunch up and drag out debris even from the bottom of a round gutter. You will have to decide how perfect a cleaning you feel you need to keep your gutters flowing properly. If, hypothetically there was a small residue remaining along the bottom of a round-bottomed gutter would that really matter?
Q) How durable is Gutter Sense?
While Gutter Sense is proving to be the best choice for cleaning gutters without a ladder, as with any plastic tool it is not indestructible. We recently (July, 2007) changed the plastic to an impact modified glass filled Nylon which now makes Gutter Sense about 1/3 more break resistant than prior tools. Still, it can be broken if mishandled. The tool was designed to be extremely lightweight to make it easy to handle on a long pole, so parts are no more massive then is required to do the job. Used properly, breakage will not occur but one does have to be reasonably careful. Typical handling errors are dropping the tool while on the pole, trying to force the tool down into hard packed debris or to pull down while a paddle is caught on something. Trying to force a large mass of gripped debris out of the gutter when it is caught between the overhang and the gutter edge can also cause problems and is not good for the shingles either. Rather than use force, close the tongs a bit first before entering the gutter and take a smaller bite. Wait till after a rain if you have debris that is hard packed like cement. Gutter Sense is designed for the motions of grasping and lifting out debris. Properly handled, Gutter Sense should last for many seasons.
Q) Will Gutter Sense work with any gutter?
A) Gutter Sense is basically designed for flat bottomed gutters (see above for round gutters). While Gutter Sense works in most gutters and for most debris, there may be some special situation in which it might not perform and that's why we provide a 30 day return policy. Please try out your new tool when it arrives so you can return it in time if it does not meet your expectations.
Q) How long a pole should I use?
A) While a push broom handle is workable for a very low single story gutter most situations call for a longer pole. A twelve-foot extension pole is usually sufficient for most situations up to a 1-1/2-story reach. However, if the ground drops away steeply from the house or the house is built up you may need an even longer pole at 1-1/2 story. At least an eighteen-foot pole is needed for a two-story reach. You may need a longer pole then that if you have high ceilings or the ground drops as mentioned above. I have spoken with customers who have needed twenty-four-foot poles for two-story situations. Landscape obstacles can also increase the need for greater pole length. Be sure your pole is long enough so you can comfortably support it with both hands while pulling the rope wrapped around your hand. This will give you far better control then if you have to reach out holding the end of the pole with one hand while pulling the rope with the other.
Q) I have a tree pruning sectional pole. Can I use that with Gutter Sense?
A) Gutter Sense requires a conventional ĺ x 5 TPI Acme thread as works with paint rollers. Some pruning poles have tapered or socket ends that are incompatible. You might be able to Jerry rig it by using a metal thread end repair fitting sometimes available at Hardware Stores used to clamp onto the end of a wooden pole that has damaged threads. Some pruning sectional poles are quite heavy and you might find you are better off obtaining a more suitable pole for use with Gutter Sense.
Q) Do you recommend a certain pole to use with Gutter Sense?
A) There are a lot of poles out there that are perfectly fine for use with gutter sense. Cam locks vary in quality from good to junk. Some work for awhile and then tend to slip or allow the poles to twist. You want a pole that wonít do either. I think itís worth the extra ten or twenty bucks to get a good quality pole with good locks whether internal or external that will perform well and will pay for itself over time. When you are talking about getting up two stories you really want a good quality pole with a good locking system. Of course they are expensive, but consider, isnít it worth paying an extra twenty bucks not to have to climb a ladder up two stories or move it around to clean the gutters? Another note on poles, consider buying one that has at least the largest section made of fiberglass for electrical insulation just for safety sake.
Q) Wonít I still have to get up on a ladder to check and see if the gutter is cleaned out enough?
A) No, just cycle the tool in the cleaned gutter. If nothing much comes out youíve done the job. I like to do a quick second pass down the whole gutter to make sure Iíve gotten out most of whatís there. A little leftover debris is not going to hurt anything and usually collects near the downspout after a rain where I check from time to time with Gutter Sense.
Q) I find that sometimes I end up grasping the gutter supports. How can I avoid that?
A) The aim is to enter the gutter partially and move the tool left or right until you find the support with the outside surface of the tongs. This sometimes takes a little practice getting the feel of it. After you clean a couple of times it should become second nature. If you encounter unusually closely space supports you may have to close the tool partially before you can get between them.
Q) Is it better to wait till the leaves are dry before cleaning?
A) Gutter Sense will grasp leaves wet or dry but I prefer it if they are a little wet as they donít break up and they clump together better.
Q) Iím a lady who is not all that strong. Does it take a lot of strength to use Gutter Sense?
A) It depends mostly on how high your gutter is. The higher it is the longer a pole you need to reach it, and the longer the pole, the more weight you are supporting. I can only answer this question subjectively. I suppose I am of average strength for a man and encounter very little fatigue in the fifteen or twenty minutes it takes me to clean my seventy-five feet of 1-1/2 story gutter with my fully extended 12 Ft. extension pole. A dainty lady would find it more tiring. A woman who works out a lot would probably leave me in the dust. Iíd be more concerned with slight individuals tackling very high two story gutters. For one-story gutters even a child should be able to handle it. It only takes a few pounds of force to pull the cord.
Q) Iíve cleaned my gutter with Gutter Sense but the water still overflows.
A) Regrettably, Gutter Sense is not so magical that it will clean out clogged downspouts too. Thatís probably your problem. They often clog where the downspout angles back to the house from the gutter. Sometimes gutter installers use too sharp a bend and clogs tend to form easily especially if you have a lot of pine needles and such. If you have a lot of trouble with clogged downspouts, take the time or expense if you can to have a more gentle bend put into the downspout configuration. A plumberís rodding tool shoved up the downspout is one means of unblocking a clogged downspout. Another is attacking the problem from above with a stiff wire or end of an old fiberglass fishing rod but that necessitates climbing a ladder. A garden hose shoved up the downspout might do the trick also. One of the reasons using a water jet to clean gutters is not a good idea is that they can cause a clogged downspout by driving debris into it.
Q) How long does it take to clean out a gutter with Gutter Sense?
A) Obviously that will depend on the type and amount of debris, the length and height of the gutter and the mechanical ability of the user and the amount of practice one has with the tool among other factors. I have seventy-five feet of gutter 1-1/2-stories high, use a twelve-foot extension pole and am practiced with the tool. I have a lot of trees, pines among them, and it takes me about fifteen to twenty minutes to clean them when fully loaded with Gutter Sense.
Q) Can Gutter Sense pick up sticks and packed debris?
A) Yes. Gutter Sense is effective for removing most sorts of debris whether packed or not wet or dry even an errant golf ball but I have seen conditions where owners have neglected cleaning their gutters for a year or more with foot high trees growing in them with their roots interlaced with dirt and pine needles creating a kind of cement. Even Gutter Sense has a limit! If this is your situation, pick out the debris slowly with small bites by partially closing the tongs before entering the gutter or clean the gutter by what means you must then use Gutter Sense to keep the gutter from getting that way again by using it at more frequent intervals. Although the tongs open to about 14 inches it is conceivable that you may encounter a flat stick lying on the bottom of the gutter that is longer then that in which case Gutter Sense might miss picking it up. I have grabbed a pencil out of my gutter with Gutter Sense, as it tends to grab and lift it by the end. If you find you have a problem grasping and holding onto the particular debris in your gutter you might be thinking that if only there were teeth along the edge of the paddles it would work better. Actually you can easily add teeth to the edge but to do so will cancel the Gutter Sense warranty. Most people Like the smooth edged paddles because they also pick up roofing gravel and dirt. But if you really want a toothed edge, here is a technique. Close the paddles and tape along the edge to keep them from shifting. Place the paddles edge up in a vise and mark off along the edge every half inch. Then using a 1/4 inch rat-tail file, cut into the edges at the marks to about half the diameter of the file. Presto, you have 1/4 inch teeth. Again, you do this at your own discretion as any warranty become void should you choose to modify the tool in this or any other way.
Q) How can I collect debris while using Gutter Sense?
A) Try dragging a plastic sheet along the ground as you go. Itís kind of hard to be precise enough to drop the debris into a bucket from high up and you donít want to lower the pole away from your body as that would take too much effort owing to the leverage involved. You want to keep the pole vertical for the most part only leaning the pole far enough away from you to avoid getting hit with debris as it drops. This way you only carry approximately the weight of the pole and the debris you are grasping. Even raising a long extension pole by itself from the horizontal to the vertical takes some strength to overcome the leverage.
Q) What features Makes Gutter Sense superior to other gutter cleaning tools?
A) I invite comparing Gutter Sense to other gutter tools. Compare the design features. Gutter Sense is light enough (about 6 oz.) to use up to a two-story level. To my knowledge this is the only gutter-cleaning tool that can boast this capability. It is usable with variable length poles making it possible to tailor the tool to the height of the gutter being cleaned. This allows the operator to grip the pole anywhere along its length so as to enable the operator to position him or herself most advantageously in relation to the gutter for optimal handling ease. The tongs are angled for easy entry and exit from the gutter and the paddles are shaped so as to allow picking up small debris like pine needles and the widest variety of other debris. The shallow paddle design cleans easily from under gutter supports owing to the 45į angle the tong presents relative to the bottom of the gutter. The paddles run flat on the bottom of the gutter even if the pole is canted. Not only does this assure effective cleaning; cycling the tool informs the user that the gutter is effectively cleaned. One wing nut adjusts for landscape obstacles. This combination of design features makes this tool exceptionally user friendly and easy to master. The tool doubles as an extended reach pickup tool when the tongs are adjusted forward.
Q) What is your opinion of gutter covers?
A) There are basically two kinds of gutter covers; screens which attempt to filter out the debris and monolithic covers which depend on surface tension to channel water into the gutter while hoping the leaves will be shed off the edge. In the real world, these solutions donít always work. For example, leaves often flatten out as they become wet and follow the water flow around the curved lip and end up inside the gutter. I have talked with people who have various covers with mixed reports. Basically what covers accomplish, in most cases is to extend the time needed between cleanings. If you have few trees around you might never have to clean your gutters with covers, or for that matter even if you have no covers. But for people with a lot of trees about, some with covers still say they have to clean their gutters twice a year. Others far less frequently. You have to wonder though, how many people go outside during a hard rain to check to see if their covered gutters are performing? In a downpour, water often bypasses the gutter completely with surface tension types by the sheer force of the flow. When that occurs, you might as well have no gutters at all. With some cheap screen installations that depend on remaining convex to operate properly they end up becoming useless after a hailstorm. Some people have problems with them blowing off and trapping unsightly debris in the latticework. Sometimes leaves end up covering them defeating their purpose, which need to be cleaned off from time to time. Smaller debris still enters and collects which eventually has to be cleaned out. Access can then become a problem. The better gutter covers can cost thousands of dollars to install. You have to decide whether installing the covers is worth it to stave off having to clean more often. I have about seventy-five feet of 1-1/2 story gutter on my house that takes me about 15 to 20 minutes to clean when fully loaded with Gutter Sense using a fully extended twelve-foot extension pole. I have a lot of trees and have to clean them many times each season. Still, for me I find it no problem now that I donít have to climb a ladder or get my hands in the mess. If you decide on covers I suggest that you do some research and seek out critiques. And be very careful of the guarantees that come with them.
Q) What are the advantages of using Gutter Sense over water tools?
A) Obviously, you donít get wet using Gutter Sense. Water tools can cause clogs in the downspout by driving debris in them. Debris can jam up as leaves pile up against more leaves or against the gutter supports followed by filling the gutter with water. They can scatter dirt and debris and can cause water damage in the structure. They require a water hookup and canít reach up very high. In short, I personally feel that water jets are really only good for rinsing out a gutter already relatively clean or cleaned by some other means. For bigger stuff you have to pick it out by hand or, more efficiently, with a tool like Gutter Sense. If you look for product tests on the Internet you will find similar comments.
Q) How about extended reach tools you use while up on a ladder?
A) The object of extended reach tools, which put a spoon-like appendage on the end of a long pole, is to minimize the repositioning of a ladder. While the concept would seem to make sense in the real world this kind of tool can be a real hazard to use. You still have to climb a ladder, which Gutter Sense eliminates entirely. The problem with using these tools is twofold. In the first place, you need incredible muscle strength to use the tool at any meaningful distance with one hand because of the leverage involved. This means you are going to have to work the tool with both hands so you wonít be holding onto the ladder. This is very dangerous. Secondly, the supports get in the way of moving the debris.
Q) What about using blowers?
A) If you put aside the cost, noise, pollution and health hazards like breathing the dust they raise as well as the mess they can make scattering debris, blowers can be very effective for removing dry leaves and debris. They get more problematic if the debris is compacted and wet. They can lift shingles and drive debris under them. There are extensions for them available so you can use them from the ground for a single story reach. Otherwise, you still have to use a ladder or walk along a roof. If you are using them with an extension from the ground you canít tell how good a job youíve done. You have to get up there and look.
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