Cleaning the gutters is an unpleasant job that can be extensive and costly. But without regular gutter maintenance, your home is at a higher risk of developing structural damage; the most severe of which can be permanent.
There are several factors that will determine how often you should clean your gutters – what type of trees surround your property, how many are planted and the size/capacity of your drainage system. Some trees shed leaves much faster than others, and modern drains can deal with much more water than older systems. Either way it’s advisable to perform maintenance 2 to 4 times a year, even if everything appears to be in order.
Since the process of cleaning the gutters seems rather straight forward, many people decide to take on this task themselves and in some cases, this is perfectly acceptable. But when put into practice, removing a month’s worth of debris from troughs that are meters in the air, isn’t always as straightforward as you might think.
Gutters can get clogged very quickly and the debris that collects throughout the system is often much heavier than one would expect. Attempting to lift loads that are too heavy, whilst standing on a ladder is a recipe for disaster, and a very common cause of accidents that occur whilst cleaning the drains.
Nevertheless, if you follow strict safety precautions, it is possible to clean the gutters yourself, with the assistance of an extra pair of hands to help you steady the ladder and dispose of the debris.
How to Clean Your Gutters Safely
Practice Ladder Safety – although this may seem obvious, far too many people overlook ladder safety and end up paying painful consequences. Always check that your ladder is in good condition and that the ground you’re working on is stable enough to take the weight. Always get assistance from someone to steady the ladder and never attempt to attend to anything that is out of reach.
Protect your hands – a durable pair of gloves will protect your hands and forearms from cuts and scratches. They will also give you better grip on the ladder, your tools and any debris you pick up.
Protect your eyes – a good pair of safety glasses/goggles will prevent any debris entering the eye and causing any serious damage.
Wear correct footwear – rubber soled shoes will provide good flexibility and better grip.
Use the right tools – gutter scoops are specially designed to clean gutters and are much more efficient than using your hands or any other make shift tool.
Cut power to nearby power lines – wherever possible, switch off the power to any power lines that you’ll be working near.
GET ASSISTANCE! Two sets of hands will not only make the job much easier, it will also make it safer.
Whist on the task in hand you may find you come across other issues and may need to continue with gutter repairs.