Clean gutters are an essential part of protecting your home from foundation and roof problems but clearing them out can be a big job. Ideally, they should be cleaned twice: before the leaves begin to fall for the season and after trees have shed their leaves. While we always recommend hiring a professional for jobs with the potential for safety risks, gutter cleaning is a project most homeowners can take on themselves. If you decide to tackle this one yourself, here are a few tips to help.
Look Out Below: Ladder Safety Tips
Whenever you climb a ladder, there is an immediate and inherent set of risks stemming from multiple factors. You can mitigate many of these risks with proper ladder safety.
- Stabilizers are available at most home improvement stores, designed to aid in preventing the tip of a ladder from sliding while it’s occupied. It’s always a good idea to use one, especially for two-hand jobs like cleaning gutters.
- Use the buddy system if you can. The second set of hands can help to steady the ladder when necessary, but you’ll also have someone present to assist in the event of an injury. Make sure your buddy stays on the ground, though; never have more than one person on a ladder at a time.
- Always remember to maintain three points of contact while climbing and when working from a ladder.
- Before using a ladder, always check for overhead obstructions. Tree limbs and branches are a concern, but it’s imperative to be aware of power lines. Never use a ladder within 10 feet of any power lines.
- Check your gear. Make sure your ladder carries the appropriate weight rating, all its hardware is in good condition, and there are no damages before climbing.
Gutter Cleaning Tips and Tricks
You’re on the ladder, now what? While it seems obvious you should remove the debris clogging the gutters; it can be a little bit more complicated than you bargained for if you’re not prepared.
Though it’s tempting to reach for a leaf blower to blast all that debris with ease, it’s seldom a good idea. In addition to making an enormous mess that’s near impossible to clean up on the ground properly, it won’t even work to remove any wet debris or if your gutters are exceedingly full. Instead, it’s better to remove debris by hand, wearing thick gloves and keeping a bucket handy for waste.
While you’re taking a bird’s eye view of things, it’s a good idea to take this opportunity to look over your gutters for signs of damage or disrepair. Look at hangers carefully to check for missing or loose screws, make sure there are no signs of sagging along the gutter and that things seem to be in good condition.
Once the gutters are clean, be sure to remember the downspouts. Most of the gutter issues we see stem from a clog in a downspout. A garden hose with an ordinary high-pressure attachment is ideal for flushing gutter channels and downspouts after all debris has been removed.
It’s a big job, but you can do it! Should you decide you’d rather spend your time on solid ground, we’re always here to help. Spot trouble during your inspection? Let us know what services you need, and we’ll refer you to the contractors in our trusted network.