There is an idea amongst some people in the gutter vacuum cleaning business that it’s not strictly necessary to use a camera to video or take photographs of the gutters before and after gutter cleans. I know this because some offer before and after pictures as an added extra for a fee. I can’t understand this as I see using a camera as an absolute necessity!
I can only presume that they must believe that they can tell if it’s blocked just by feel and I understand this to a point, when you’re cleaning the gutters you can tell it’s blocked just by feel because it’s very difficult to move the tool around in the gutters. However I don’t believe the opposite is true, it’s not safe to assume that just because you can move the gutter cleaning attachment easily through the gutters that you have fully cleared them. You are effectively cleaning blindfold and it is possible that you are simply moving the tool through a clear channel but that there is debris on one or more sides of this.
When I clear gutters I don’t look at the camera all of the time for safety reasons. I clean a section using feel and go back and forwards over the same section until it feels clear. Then I check the section is clear with the camera and quite frequently it’s not. I then go over the parts that I did not know I’d missed. So experience has taught me that you can’t rely on feel alone.
One of the main gutter areas that gets blocked is the top of downpipes and it could be said this is the most important part of the gutter to make sure is clear because even if all the rest of the gutters are clear but there is a blockage at the top of the downpipe then the gutter is going to fill with water. If you look at the photograph below you can see that there is a screw that sticks quite some way into the downpipe. Now if I was not using a camera system I would’ve assumed that this was a blockage and it would be a blockage that I would not be able to clear. So the question is if you’re not using a camera system what would you do in this situation?
I believe the answer would be that you would tell yourself that you’ve cleared it, probably go over it an extra time, acccept that there is something that you’re not quite sure about but probably keep it to yourself. If you mention it to the customer the obvious question will be, “What is it?”.
In other words you’re not one hundred percent confident that you’ve cleared the gutter and if you can’t be confident neither can your customer?
There may be rare times when you can’t get everything out of the gutter with your vacuum system, I think in this situation it is best to be honest with your customer and be able to tell them what the obstruction is.
So I believe there are three reasons why you must use camera system when cleaning gutters
- It gives you confidence that you’ve cleared all the gutters
- You can show your customers that you’ve cleared the gutters and they can be confident too
- You can capture great marketing photographs and video
PK Gutter Cleanings Camera Setup
You can buy specialist poles and gutter cleaning cameras and these may work perfectly fine. Some of them can be very expensive though. The system I use consists of a GoPro 8 which I confess I had anyway and was using it for other purposes. I simply attach this to a window cleaning pole using the GoPro jaws connector. This allows me to position The camera with the pole, the camera looking straight down the line of the gutter so I can usually see most of the gutter in one shot.
The picture quality is great. I am able to shoot 4k video. I have never had problems with getting a connection to my mobile but this may be more off an issue depending where you are working.