When fall has ended, gutter cleaning is usually done to prepare the gutter system to hold snow and ice when inclement weather starts. Cleaning out the gutters is a safety risk if proper precautionary measures are not taken. Here are a few tips to use when cleaning your own gutter system to help keep you safe in the process.
Secure Your Materials
It is important to use a sturdy ladder when climbing up to clean out gutters. Having a person available to spot you as you walk up and down will help give you confidence. They will also be able to help you if an accident does occur. Use a four-legged step-ladder for a one-story home or an extension ladder for a two-story home.
Stay away from using an orchard ladder as they can become unbalanced easily. Aluminum ladders work well as they will offer enough weight for stability. They are also not too heavy to move a few times. A ladder with a resting area for your bucket is best. Use a lanyard to secure the bucket.
Wear Protective Gear
Wear heavy-duty gloves to help protect your skin from scratches and scrapes from sharp materials. Gloves also protect against disease from bird, mouse, or squirrel droppings. Wear goggles to protect the eyes from protruding sticks or twigs. When scooping the material out, a stick can easily shift, causing a scratch to an unprotected eye.
Know The Limits
Before you climb the ladder, do a few quick jumps on the bottom rung. This will allow you to observe the condition of the ground where the ladder is resting. If the ground is soft, the ladder will shift. Move the ladder to firmer land. Another option is to place a piece of plywood on the ground in this area before placing the ladder on top.
Keep the "three-point rule" in mind as you are cleaning out your gutters. This rule is that three appendages should remain on the ladder at all times. Often people become injured by reaching to do the cleaning with both hands. This uneven weight shift can cause the ladder to tip. Reaching with one arm while lifting a leg from the ladder can also result in a fall or tipping ladder.
Wash The Gutter Safely
Don't use a pressure washer while on a ladder as the backlash from the force of the water pressure can knock you off your ladder. Instead, bring up a garden hose with a trigger that resembles a pistol. This can be adjusted with one hand and can be hung from the side of the gutter to wash material toward the downspout. This will free up your hand so you can use it to scoop material out of the way.
For more information, talk to a company like Miller Roofing & Guttering Inc.