Gutter cleaning is an important and often unpleasant aspect of owning a home. Many people make the task easier by working with roofing companies or general contractors who install home siding for gutters that are easier to clean and resistant to clogging.
But whether you have specialty gutters or not, you’ll need to find your ladder twice a year to prevent the serious issues that can arise from dirty gutters. As insurance company Allstate explained, clogged gutters can lead to water damage around your foundation, ice dams in the winter, broken gutters and even a haven for ants and rodents.
Although the task is necessary, it can also be dangerous. People fall, cut or otherwise hurts themselves frequently while cleaning out the gutters, so it’s important to follow safety advice so that you can climb off that ladder in one piece.
Use the right gear
You can’t just hop up on the roof and start digging up leaves with your hands – you need to wear the proper safety clothing.
Use heavy duty rubber gloves. This will keep your hands dry, save you from feeling the muddy wet leaves and, most importantly, prevent you from getting cut by any sharp gutter pieces. Accompany the gloves with a tough long sleeve shirt for similar reasons. Safety goggles are also a must-have. Once you start cleaning, the mud and debris will be eye level and flying everywhere.
In addition to safe clothing, you’ll need other accessories to guarantee a safe return to the ground based on the type of roof you have. If you’re walking on the roof rather than using a ladder, wear good footwear that’s resistant to slipping.
Another way to ensure you won’t fall is to test out your ladder before each use. Visually inspect each step to make sure none are broken. Place it on level ground and step up two steps to check for movement. Angle and push the ladder’s feet into the ground and have another person spot the bottom of the ladder. If you have no one to spot the ladder, hammer a stake into to ground at the bottom of the ladder, a little higher than the bottom rung so the ladder cannot push out. Be careful, you could dent the gutters if the ladder is not positioned correctly.
Follow proper procedure
Once you have all the gear you need to clean, it’s crucial that you follow all rules. Clean the gutters with a trowel, empty the leaves and mud into a buckets that you can lower down, and wash the gutter out with a hose. Play it safe. And, experts almost universally agree, if you’re nervous about cleaning your gutters, hire a professional – it just isn’t worth it.
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