With spring melt, it’s time to clean gutters to prevent moisture damage. While icy and windy conditions persist, there is a greater risk of injury from ladder falls. Here are some tips to keep you safe during spring cleanup.
Let someone know you are working on a ladder in case you need help. For really tall ladders, have a spotter that can keep the ladder steady.
Inspect your ladder to ensure it is in good working order before you begin. Tighten any screws or bolts that have loosened over time.
Ensure extension-hinge arms are fully extended and locked in place.
If you need to be up on the ladder for hours, take regular breaks so fatigue doesn’t cause you to misstep.
Use rubber-soled shoes to provide the best grip for ladder safety.
Check for overhead powerlines and cables so you can avoid contact.
Get ladder safety tips from OSHA here.
If you are using a hose to clean out the gutter, buy a pistol-grip trigger spray nozzle. This allows you to adjust the water pressure with one hand and can hang over the edge of the gutter when not in use.
Use your hose to spray down the roof before you start. This will wash all debris into the gutters so it won’t get clogged again after the first rain.
These plastic tools are available from most hardware stores and make for easy cleaning. They hug the gutter and scrape even compacted leaves without damaging the surface.
Gloves protect against bacteria and animal waste, and keep your hands warm. Thick suede ones are the best option.
Wasps, bees, rodents and birds may call your gutters home and you want to avoid any possibility of eye injury.
Clear the Downspouts
Run the hose through the downspout to ensure there are no clogs. If a clog occurs, tap on the downspout to dislodge. If that doesn’t work, the downspout and back need to be removed, then flush it from the bottom.
Gutter guards can eliminate the need to clean your gutters.