Gutter cleaning pole

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Established Member
30 Aug 2009
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I know this is a bit off topic for this forum but there's also a lot of knowledgeable and helpful people here so hopefully someone can help me out...

So, we've got an old place that has a concealed gutter that runs along the front of the house. The water runs to the middle of the house and then along a gutter that runs through the loft before it emerges at the back of the house. It's completely insane but the place is listed and there's no way we'd get permission to put a drain at the front of the property, what we have now is the only option.

The problem is the front roof grows moss like it's going out of fashion and it has a nasty tendency to cause a blockage where the drain enters the loft. There's a hatch in the roof and over the years I've built up a collection of tools I use to deal with this problem. Essentially I've taken a drain rodding kit and added my own tools to the end like a scraper to pull the moss in the gutter towards me and a trowel on a stick to dig it out and put it in a bucket (and a few others).

The problem with my home made tool kit is the drain rods are a bit too flexible. I need to reach about six metres in one direction to gather the moss. I can, just about do it, but it's back breaking work. What I need is something like drain rods but stiffer e.g. they need to screw together from shorter lengths. Any ideas?
I've some memory of electricians pull through rod being available in flexible or rigid versions.
I have a similar problem with some guttering and use drain rods to clear it. I have a high quality set that are very flexible and that can cause a problem I also have a cheap set that are so stiff you would have a struggle to clear drains with them but are perfect for the gutters.
That's the sort of thing I want but watching a video on "Super Rod" even their stiffest rod is too flexible, maybe if it was the diameter of a drain rod it'd be stiff enough but I can't see any even close to that thick.

A thought has just crossed my mind though. Maybe I can attach some light weight canes or similar to the sides of my drain rods. That would certainly stiffen them up a bit without adding too much weight.

Mine are cheap and cheerful. They do live in the loft though and I don't remember them being quite as flexible as they are now. Maybe the heat of the loft has affected them over time.
I don't quite understand the problem - but rather than drain rods which I assume are designed to be somewhat flexible, is it possible to use some UPVC waste pipe (42mm) or even downpipe (68mm).

Both these may be more rigid and as they come in 3m lengths you would only need to fabricate one joint.
I'm looking at extending poles for window washing at the moment, they are expensive in the length I need but would do the job.

The drain pipe is not a bad idea. It's hard to explain but I'd need to cut it down to 1.5m lengths to make it useable. I'll have a think about how best to make the joints as they mustn't come apart.
20mm straight conduit would also work just buy 2 lengths of 3m and a joiner, glue them with solvent weld then work out how to attach the gutter tool.
I heard a tip a while back, Run a long piece of copper wire just below the ridge line stretched between two screw eyes. Apparently it has the effect of preventing moss growth on the roof as the copper salts wash down.
The problem with buying any reach and wash solution is it's going to be expensive. However if you need to do it regularly you can build the perfect system for your needs here Ionic Waterfed Pole Parts | Ionic Systems - The Reach & Wash® System or elsewhere on the net. Just search reach an wash spares. We use Ionic at work and they are good.
Carbon fibre pole over 6 m will be great for your back. I abseil mostly bit the modern poles we use regularly up to 65 foot (that's up... sideways is a different game altogether! ). A goose neck brush will be better than anything solid and you can keep water pumping through to clear debris. Then treat with an anti fungicide and wash little and often.
You might have a heart attack at the prices but this is by far the best solution it just depends on budget.
Personally I'd phone a few local bigger window cleaning companies and ask if they have any knackered old poles they want rid of for a drink. 10 to 1 they have some old poles in the lockup.
Edit missed the covered pipe bit but maybe it helps anyway. feel free to pm if needed for advice on the window cleaning gear btw
Ever tried a plumbers drain snake. Hand powered ones might be a bit of a chore but the powered ones would do it.
Ryobi make a powered drain cleaner. Maybe sold in your country.,kitchen,283&sr=8-5
If the drain pipes were buried I would use a nozzle on the end of a pressure washer hose. In your case because of the potential of the old drain pipe breaking and soaking down the house, maybe not.

I think we all want to see a picture of this strange setup!

How much space do you have to manouevre once you're in the loft?

There are paint roller extension poles that do go to 6m - but I'm not sure of the weight.

There are cleaning and maintenance poles - similar but I would hope lighter.
Cleaning pole

There are hooky -grabby type things for hanging lights and reaching for ropes.
Boat hook pole

This reminded me of the lightweight telescopic banner poles. Very lightweight. The last couple of narrow sections would be far too bendy - but the link is for a 10m banner pole. Ditch the last few sections and you would have a fairly rigid 6m pole that doesn't weigh much. Would be good on the pull stroke - but you might have tape the joints if you want to push with it.

Feather Banner

Other than that - lightweight carbon fibre tent poles.

Tent Poles

There is a 5.5m one on this page - maybe a bit more searching will get you a six. Might only be good on the push action unless you can crank that cord up super tight. Very compact to get into the loft with and a fairly cheap option to start with.

Good luck - hope you manage to get this solved.
could you join two or more bits of 32/40mm drain pipe together then connect a wet dry vac and suck it all up rather than trying to pull it all towards you
Maybe look to the angling community, they do perch rods, collapsible and extendable, well over 6m length too.
I'm not talking traditional fishing rods and reels, but the long more rigid pole rods.
Bit late perhaps but have a look at Darlac swop-top system, I think it will give the reach you need and is a rigid telescopic pole. Otherwise wolf tools do a 6m fruit picking pole, bit unwieldy at 3m closed but they do a good range of attachments.
I'd echo the comments above about copper wire. Where I work there are cotswold stone roofs and where the jackdaws have nicked the wire the moss is terrible.
Is it wrecking your back because you have to lift the top of the pole to the end of the gutter 6 metres away?
In which case, attach a small dolly to the end (maybe a skateboard wheel thing) and roll it down, then flip it to use the tool to scrape the moss back to you.

Or you can make something like a garden scarifier with wheels and scraper on the same side.
Daft idea? I dunno.
Had my gutters cleaned recently. Guy used a vacuum cleaner, on a ? meter pipe to such rubbish out of the gutter. Similar thinking, with wet / dry vac,
how to get it to snake along the inside gutter and suck the moss out? If the loft gutter will support it, may be possible to push it along, sucking as you go?

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