Gutter cleaning is a necessary part of home maintenance, but it can be dangerous if done incorrectly. Before you hop on a ladder and go to town on your guttering, there are some techniques you need to practice. Check out these safety tips for gutter cleaning, courtesy of Sargent Gutters & Siding.
Clean Gutters after Several Days of Dry Weather
The best time to clean your gutters is when the debris inside is as dry as possible. Wet leaves are heavy, especially when you’re moving them from an elevated position. Wait until there have been several dry days in a row before tackling this project.
Sweep the Roof First
Sweeping the roof isn’t always an option, but if you can, do so. This will get rid of debris that would have otherwise fallen into the gutters during the next rainstorm. Be extremely cautious when cleaning your roof, and understand your limits. This is an optional step that will simply cut down on future cleaning requirements.
Wear Reliable Shoes with Strong Grips
Whether you’re walking around on the roof or moving on a ladder, you need good shoes to stand on. These should have a firm grip and reliable support. Don’t wear flats, flip flops, or anything that is likely to slide off your feet. That will quickly become a recipe for disaster.
Use a Sturdy Ladder and Have a Partner Available
Gutter cleaning can be a one-person job, but that doesn’t mean it’s a safe one-person job. Ideally you should have a partner on standby to hold the ladder and stand by for any safety issues that may occur.
Speaking of ladders – use a good one! A sturdy ladder is key to safe gutter cleaning. If you’re even remotely unstable on the ladder, have your partner hold the base for support. This isn’t something you want to risk.
Wear Thick Gloves to Protect Your Hands
You don’t know what kinds of debris is hanging out in your gutters. Chances are, some of it is pretty sharp. You may also deal with spiders, sharp metal, pests and other problems. A pair of thick gloves will protect you from unintentional injury.
Use a Plastic Gutter Scoop
A plastic gutter scoop is less likely to damage your gutters than a metal scoop. This is a special tool designed to fit within the gutters and scoop out the leaves and twigs within. It’s easier and more efficient than a small shovel, and you can use it time and time again.
When you’re finished scooping, follow that up with a rinse with your garden hose. This will clear out any remaining debris in the gutters, and it will allow you to test for leaks and drainage issues.
Cleaning from the Roof vs. Cleaning from the Ground
You can choose to stand on the roof to clean your gutters or stand on your ladder. This is mostly up to your preference. Some people find it easier to walk along the roof and bed down to the gutters, but others like the angle they get from being on the ladder.
Moving the ladder around is a bit of an inconvenience, but if that is how you feel most comfortable, it is worth the safety and confidence.
Plan for Routine Gutter Cleaning and Consider Adding Gutter Guards
The more clogged your gutters are, the harder they are to clean. This will affect your safety in a negative way. Most gutters need to be cleaned at least twice a year – once before fall and once at the end of fall. However, your gutters may need additional gutter cleaning if you have a lot of trees in the area. (See: How often Should Gutters Be Cleaned?)
You can reduce your gutter cleaning needs by adding gutter guards or leaf filters. These special screens sit on top of the gutters and allow water to come in while blocking out the leaves. You may still need to wash out the gutters periodically, but your cleaning requirements will be cut back dramatically. Gutter guards can pay for themselves in just a few short years!
Skip the Safety Concerns with Professional Gutter Cleaning
If you don’t want to put your safety at risk, call in the pros. They have the right tools, equipment and expertise to clean your gutters safely and efficiently. Contact Sargent Gutters & Siding at (800) 465-7460 to schedule a gutter cleaning service.