With the leaves quickly changing colors and falling off the trees it’s that dreaded time of the year when husbands begrudgingly get out the ladder and gloves and have to clean the gutters. While it’s definitely not fun it’s something that simply has to be done. During a downpour clogged gutters can cause rainwater to cascade down the side of your house potentially ruining any landscaping and causing damage to the foundation of your home. So a little bit of work now might save you a lot of trouble later. However, as with any job with heights it can be a dangerous task if you don’t take it seriously. Here we’ll look at some basic guidelines to efficiently and safely clean out your gutters this fall.
Make sure that you have a sturdy ladder for the job. In general wooden ladders are less reliable while fiberglass tend to be the strongest (but also heaviest). A good middle ground can be found with an aluminum ladder. If possible it’s a good idea to use a ladder with standoff stabilizers or ‘ladder horns’ to prevent damage to your gutters. Before making your ascent tell someone you’ll be working on the roof and lightly jump on the first rung to make sure that the ground is secure. This last part is especially important for gutter cleaning because you’ll have to move the ladder often and in the fall the ground may be damp and unstable. Always try to adhere to the ‘3 point rule’ when using a ladder. Make sure you have at least 2 feet and a hand securely on the ladder at all times. Usually it’s the last bit of faraway debris that someone thinks they can get by leaning over that will land them in the hospital.
In general the equipment you need for this job is fairly basic. Wear a long sleeve shirt, rubber gloves, and protective eyewear. This is important because the gunk in your gutters me be full of anything from bitey creatures to infectious bacteria. If you will be on the roof at any time during this venture be sure to wear rubber soled shoes with good traction. Lastly, to make the job easier it’s advisable to have some sort of ‘gutter scoop.’ These can be bought at any hardware store but in a pinch a kid’s sand shovel will work just fine. For disposing of debris you can either keep a bucket securely attached on your ladder or toss the debris over the edge (though you may way to lay down a tarp to spare your lawn).
Lastly just remember to be cautious and take your time. Gutter cleaning is only something you need to do a few times a year so it shouldn’t be rushed for both safety and a thorough job. An additional option is to install guards on your gutters that will keep large debris out while still collecting water. These can greatly reduce the frequency that you have to clean your gutters.