A home’s gutter system is vital to roof and property maintenance because the gutters allow water to flow freely while directing it off the property. Gutters provide the drainage system that prevents water from pouring off the roof from every direction, and they keep water from backing up, eventually damaging the roof and home. However, gutters will only work properly if they are clear of debris.
Since maintaining clear gutters is so important, it’s not a chore that can be neglected. The task can be tedious and a bit dangerous, but it’s not particularly complicated. Many homeowners opt to clean their own gutters, rather than hire a gutter-cleaner or roofing professional. For those who choose to take on the task yourselves, here are some smart safety tips to bear in mind.
The Right Tools, Clothing, and Gear
Always wear appropriate gloves when cleaning out your gutters. There is no way to know if something sharp or otherwise dangerous is hidden in the gutter debris. For the same reason, you should also always wear safety goggles and a dust mask. Here are a few more tips on choosing the right tools and gear for your gutter cleaning project:
- Even though you will be wearing gloves, use a trowel to dig out the gutters instead of your gloved hand. Using your hand, even when it’s covered, poses an unnecessary risk.
- Instead of carrying a small bucket up the ladder with you, position a large rubbish bin below the area where you’ll be working, and use a trowel to toss the debris into the bin below. By eliminating the hassle of carrying and filling a small bucket, you are also reducing the potential danger. Any debris that misses the bin can just be swept up when you’re done.
- The right ladder makes all the difference. Avoid wooden ladders, as they are the most difficult to balance safely. Aluminium ladders work well, but fiberglass ladders are the sturdiest. However, a fiberglass ladder will be heavier to move, so if you use one, alternate the task of repositioning the ladder with your partner. Also, inspect and test the ladder before using it.
- Wear fitted clothing. Loose clothing can trip you up and get caught in the ladder or your feet. So, wear pants with a hem that doesn’t fall below the shoes, and a snug-fitting shirt.
- Old clothing is one thing, but old shoes often don’t have the necessary traction for the job. So, inspect the soles of your shoes before deciding which to wear. Make sure they have enough traction to prevent you from slipping while on the ladder.
Don’t Go It Alone
Cleaning your gutters may seem like a mundane task, but it is dangerous regardless of how sturdy the ladder is or what type of clothing you wear. So, always have a partner with you. Not only will your partner be able to hold the ladder steady, but he will also be able to offer immediate help if you do get injured.
Cleaning gutters can be a potentially dangerous chore, but much of the danger can be mitigated through smart preparation. When cleaning your gutters, wear the right clothing, use the right tools and gear, and always have a partner with you.