Gutter Cleaning Safety Tips

Gutter Cleaning Safety Tips

Gutter Cleaning ConnecticutGutters need to be cleaned twice a year to remove leaves and other debris so that water can flow freely. Some people don’t know the right way to clean their gutters and wind up getting hurt. Many injuries can be prevented by following these safety tips.

Always tell someone when you are planning to work with a ladder.

Use a sturdy ladder with a small shelf that can hold a five-gallon bucket. Secure the bucket to the ladder with a lanyard.

Use a four-legged step ladder for a one-story building and an extension ladder for a taller house. Do not use an orchard ladder or a wooden ladder because they are not sturdy enough. Fiberglass ladders are the sturdiest and also the heaviest. If you are going to be cleaning gutters for a long time, use a lightweight but sturdy aluminum ladder.

Before you use the ladder, check it for defects, dents, and loose parts. Tighten any screws and bolts. When opening a step ladder, be sure that the extension-hinge arms are fully extended and locked.

Clean your gutters using a garden hose with a pistol-grip trigger spray nozzle so you can adjust the water pressure with one hand. You can hang the nozzle over the front edge of the gutter while you move the ladder or use a gutter scoop. You can buy a spray nozzle at any hardware store.

Use a plastic scooping tool to remove leaves and other debris from the gutters. It will have a thin front scooping edge that forms itself to the bottom trough to make it easy to remove debris. Avoid metal scooping tools because they can scratch and damage the bottom of the gutter and the seams. Scraping the bottom of a steel gutter can introduce rust or speed up the rusting process.

Wear gloves to protect your hands from debris that contains dirt and animal droppings and to prevent cuts from torn metal.

Cotton gloves can soak up dirty water and expose your skin to bacteria. Leather gloves are less comfortable to work with and can shrivel up when they dry. Rubber gloves can be poked or torn by metal. Thick suede gloves are the best choice.

Always protect your eyes. You never know if animals or insects will jump or fly out of a gutter.

Remove all debris from the roof first so that the next rainstorm does not wash it into your clean gutters and clog them again. Debris on the roof can also cause water to dam up in valleys, around chimneys, or near HVAC equipment and cause erosion and roof leaks.

If you need to walk on the roof, wear rubber-soled shoes. Rooftops tend to be moist in the morning, so you should wait until later morning or early afternoon so the sun can dry up the moisture.

If you need to clean gutters near power lines, inspect the lines first for signs of damage. If a line appears damaged, call a licensed electrician to repair it. Water conducts electricity. If it is raining and you see a problem with an electrical wire, do not clean your gutters until it has been repaired.

After you clean the gutters, run water down the downspout at full pressure. If it backs up out the top, the downspout is clogged. Try to unclog it by tapping on the side of the downspout. If that doesn’t work, remove the downspout and back and flush from the bottom. If the downspout is connected to an underground drain, disconnect it so the clog does not move to the underground drain.

Using gutter guards can eliminate the need for spring and fall cleanings by keeping leaves and other debris out of your gutters.

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