It’s an unfortunate fact that if more building owners and facility managers knew the right way to clean their gutters, there would certainly be less injuries, deaths, and property damage.
Although fall is typically the season when gutters are cleared out in preparation for winter storms, it’s always a good time in the Pacific Northwest to maintain the gutters as we move from season to season.
Practicing these safety tips creates a safer work environment. Read on to make gutter-cleaning more efficient and less risky!
Practicing Ladder Safety
We know this task usually requires a ladder of some size. First, make sure someone is either with you when you tackle this project, or at least knows where you are in case of a mishap.
Use a safe and sturdy ladder. If it’s little more than a reach to the gutters from where you stand, using a four-legged stepladder is a great choice. Preferable choosing one with a ledge that can handle the weight and size of a 5 gallon bucket will ensure a stable platform to work from. If your gutter job requires more height assistance, an extension ladder is the solution.
While we recommend staying away from wooden ladders (as their stability is normally in question), a fiberglass extension ladder will offer the most solid support. However, if you find that your project will require frequent relocation of your ladder, an aluminum extension ladder will provide stability without the weight of the fiberglass option. Always inspect your ladder prior to using it, and if it is held together with bolts or screws, make sure they are tight before use.
Use a Garden Hose
Using a garden hose with a pistol grip nozzle will make one handed hose operation a breeze. This also makes it easy to hook the hose on the roof gutter as you move, or on the ladder. As well, this type of nozzle will let you focus a stream of water into the gutter minimizing the mess.
Use a Gutter Scoop
This seems basic, but most people don’t use them. By using a plastic gutter scoop (these scoops are available at most hardware stores), the front of the scoop is thinner and can make scooping debris from the gutter a cinch. However, don’t use a metal scoop. These can scratch the gutters inside and even nick or damage the seams.
Protecting Your Hands
Gloves are the answer to keep your hands safe and free from scratches and cuts when cleaning gutters. Cotton gloves will absorb the water, and are not thick enough generally for protection.
Leather gloves provide better protection that cotton, but become heavy when absorbing water, and can become slippery.
Rubber gloves will keep your hands dry, but offer no protection from poking objects or cuts.
Thick, suede gloves are the ideal answer. These will protect your hands from foreign objects, and are superior to cotton, leather, and rubber gloves.
Protecting Those Eyes
You will never know what you’ll find in a gutter when you start cleaning, so keep your eyes protected with safety glasses or goggles. Birds, frogs, or other small pests can pop up in drains and gutters, as well as large debris that can accidently come towards you when spraying out gutters.
Clean Off The Roof!
I’m not sure why you’d want to perform this task back to back, but if you don’t hose off or brush off the roof, the next storm which may just be around the corner will deposit all of the current debris on the roof into those gutters. Save yourself some time on the ladder and make sure the roof is clean and clear of debris before you start.
Consider Rubber Boots
These will keep you from slipping and help to avoid those accidents while providing good traction for roofs and ladders.
These should be cleared of any debris to allow free flow of rain from storms. Using your spray nozzle, make sure there is nothing obstructing these drains.
Schedule Your Gutter Cleaning
Ideally, this task should be performed semi-annually. Gutter cleaning is a maintenance item that should be scheduled and planned for proper maintenance.
Use Gutter Guards
These will help eliminate the majority of large debris in your gutters and down spouts.
Be Aware Of Power Lines
We can’t emphasize the importance of this one enough. Make an visual inspection of any power lines before you begin, and stay mindful of these as you work.
Have questions? Contact us at www.warnerroofinginc.com for support!