Is It a Tenant’s Responsibility to Clean Gutters?
In most cases, the responsibility for repairing gutters lies with the property owner, managing agent,…Read more
Keeping gutters clean and free of debris is a crucial task in both houses and commercial buildings, ensuring that wastewater is transported to the drains of a property. Following in the footsteps of robot vacuums and lawn mowers, a new generation of gutter cleaning robots seemed on the brink of emerging, offering a hands-free solution to restoring a guttering network. In this article, we’ll examine the concept behind gutter cleaning robots, look at the issues that emerged, and explore what options are available.
Blocked gutters cause problems both big and small, ranging from dampness and mould to insect infestations and damage to buildings. Regular cleaning is therefore hugely important for keeping gutters operational. Gutters can be cleaned by hand using a ladder and a tool like a gutter scoop, or from the ground using jet washing. Professional gutter cleaning is also available, able to easily access higher or difficult gutters, as well as washing through the downpipe.
Blocked gutters will cause water to overflow the gutters or to become stuck within the downpipe. Water that overflows will run down walls, and pool on roofs and floors. This water can cause dampness and mould, including dangerous black mould. Over time, pooled water can damage or collapse roofs and foundations, incurring a huge expense. Blocked downpipes can be the ideal nesting ground for insects including wasps, disrupting your garden.
Gutter cleaning robots are remote-controlled devices designed to clean the entirety of a gutter, which they can simply be placed into. As of writing, there is only one gutter cleaning robot that has been made available, the iRobot Looj 330, which runs on caterpillar tracks with a spinning mechanism working to remove leaves and other debris within a gutter. It needs to be used with a ladder, with a belt clip for climbing and a detachable handle that allows you to place it within the guttering, after which it can be moved forwards and backwards with a control. It has both a brush and a rubber scraper, intended to remove both dry leaves and more solid dirt that is stuck to the guttering.
Reviews of the iRobot Looj 330 gutter cleaning robot were largely positive. For most people, there was a clear benefit in the movement of the robot, meaning that the constant ladder repositioning that comes from manually cleaning gutters could be largely avoided. It could be easily placed within gutters, clearing most leaves and debris from them, though it won’t clear the downpipe. It’s here that the first major problem arrives.
As the iRobot does not collect cleaned debris, it can be hugely messy depending on the state of your guttering. This mixture of dirt, leaves, twigs, and algae will be thrown from your gutters, either onto your floor or onto your roof. If thrown onto the roof, any rain or wind will likely place it back into the gutter, whereas if thrown to the floor it will be a messy and time-consuming job to clean up.
When using a traditional gutter scoop, you’ll be able to place all waste into a bucket or bag, keeping your garden clear. Similarly, other gutter cleaning tools like vacuum cleaners will suck up all waste material. It’s also worth considering that in certain houses this waste could be thrown onto someone else’s property, another potential problem.
Another key issue is cornering. The iRobot Looj 330 couldn’t deal with them, and would have to be retrieved and replaced on the next straight section of guttering. For houses with long, straight gutters this wouldn’t be an issue, but for houses with shorter or more complex guttering, the time saved could fall dramatically.
At launch, the iRobot Looj 330 retailed for just under £300, and was discontinued soon after, with no replacement on the horizon. Used models remain available, with largely positive reviews on sites like Amazon. While gutter cleaning robots, therefore, show promise, the two key issues, collecting waste and navigating more complex gutters, would need to be addressed.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that gutter access is needed, meaning that they can’t be easily used on high gutters, and aren’t suitable for those who can’t use ladders.
As of now, the only option available is the iRobot Looj 330, a discontinued product with some clear drawbacks. For some homeowners however, the positives could outweigh the negatives, particularly when considering the greatly reduced price of a used model.
If you’re looking for expert drain unblocking but would rather opt for a person than a robot, Coastal Drains are available. Our drainage experts operate across Susses, performing a huge range of services including gutter cleaning and gutter maintenance. We have earned a 5-star rating on Checkatrade, and operate a low price guarantee on all work.
Whether worried about overflowing gutters or looking for regular cleaning, contact Coastal Drains now.