Umbrella Property Services - Gutter Cleaning Safety Tips

Safety Tip #3 : How to Clean Gutters Safely

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It’s spring (finally) and time to get all those household chores done that you have been putting off….like cleaning those gutters! In this third and final article regarding safety tips, lets take a look at how you can clean your gutters safely.

At its best, gutter cleaning is a tedious and unpleasant task. Getting dental work done comes to mind as a close comparitive when I think about cleaning the gutters. It can be scary and even dangerous. One small misstep and you will be sitting in a waiting room to check out that swollen ankle.

If you missed reading our post from two weeks ago on ladder safety, you will definitely want to do that before you begin. It would be good to choose a ladder with a small shelf strong enough to hold a five-gallon bucket to collect gutter debris.

There are many ways to go about cleaning your gutters. We will primarily focus on safety while getting the job done.

  1. While using a pressure washer is an effective way to clear out the spouts, you may want to consider using a garden hose with a trigger spray nozzle. This will allow you to adjust the water pressure with just one hand and easily hang it on the front edge of the gutter while moving the ladder or while using a gutter scoop.
  2. It’s best to remove most of the larger debris before spraying out the leaves, pine needles, etc. If the downspout is connected to an underground drain, you will need to disconnect that so that the debris can be released.
  3. A plastic gutter scoop is the best overall method for cleaning out the gutter. Stay away from using a metal scoop as it can scrape the gutters causing damage and rust.
  4. Using an extension pole can also be attached to the gutter scoop for reaching farther when cleaning the gutter which will reduce the need to move your ladder.
  5. Wearing gloves will protect your hands from dirty, rotting debris that can contain bird and squirrel droppings which of course are full of bacteria. They can also prevent cuts from torn metal shards in your gutters. Thick suede gloves are best because they do not soak up the dirt and can withstand rips and tears.
  6. If walking on the roof is necessary, use rubber soled shoes. Be sure the roof is dry, reducing the risk of slipping. If there is debris on the roof, you will want to clear that off first so that the next rain does not wash it down your clean gutters.
  7. Always be attentive to any possible power line hazard. If you are working around a power line cable where it connects to the roof, inspect it to ensure that the protective wire insulation hasn’t rubbed off through years of wear and tear. If this is the case, you will need to call a licensed electrician to fix it. Do not use a metal ladder near power lines when cleaning out your gutters.
  8. This whole process might take a while depending on how large your house is. Once completed you should check to see if your downspouts are clogged. You can do this by running a steady stream of water down them. Protective eyewear is essential because you never know what might fly out of the downspout when cleaning your gutters. This could include rats, birds, frogs, wasps, etc, all of which have the potential to cause eye injury. This alone would prompt me to pick up the phone and call a professional to do the job!

So there you have it. This is not an extensive list my any means but it should get you thinking about the risks involved in this most dreaded spring household chore. Whether you do it yourself or hire someone like us, this is one job you do not want to neglect. It will come back to haunt you….guaranteed!

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