It’s a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it! We’re talking about cleaning your gutters, which may seem like a thankless job, but a necessary one. If you haven’t ventured onto your roof this year to do the deed, now is definitely the time, as the leaves are falling (and surely clogging your gutters as we speak!). Here are five tips for making the whole process safer AND easier:
1. Keep it steady: Using a sturdy ladder is key to ensuring your personal safety and making the task as easy as possible. Make sure the ladder is placed on a flat, solid surface, maintain a 3-point contact (two hands and a foot, or two feet and a hand) while climbing, and never stand on the top two rungs, as it becomes more difficult to maintain your balance.
2. Dress the part: Thick, heavy gloves are a must when cleaning gutters! Sharp or jagged metal pieces along with screws or nails can pose a danger to your hands, along with debris that has accumulated in the gutters themselves. Don’t forget about non-slip shoes, long sleeves, and safety glasses for extra protection.
3. Time to clean: Once you’re ready to clean, follow a simple three-step process: scoop out any leaves and debris (keep a tarp or wheelbarrow underneath where you’re working to easily gather the gunk and keep your yard tidy), flush the gutters and downspouts clean with a hose, and repair any leaks as you go.
4. Cover it up: Investing in gutter covers can be a fairly inexpensive way to reduce clogging and the amount of work needed for next season. They are quick to install and come in a variety of forms, including porous foam, mesh screens, or clip-on grates.
5. Stay on schedule: Ideally you should clean your gutters twice a year. It may be a bit of a hassle, but maintaining your gutters can pay off in the long run, helping you avoid drainage issues that could potentially lead to more costly repairs.