Safety tips for cleaning the gutters this spring
Cleaning the gutters is a chore a lot of people forget about.
You should do this twice a year, once in the fall and during spring.
” It’s really important to keep them clean because you can get a lot of build up and back-up which could cause decay and rot at the roof’s edge,” said Allison Leep, the Business and Channel Development Manager at PEMCO. “It could also cause leaks which will damage our sighting, our foundation. It could even seep into the walls. ”
If you're thinking about cleaning the gutters yourself here are 10 safety tips:
- Always have someone with you
- Use a good quality, stable ladder
- For every four feet in elevation, set the base out one foot
- Watch for overhead electrical lines
- Never lean the ladder against the gutter
- Don't lean out yourself and keep your belt buckle between the rails
- Wear gloves to protect your hands from sharp edges
- Never hang onto a gutter for support
- Scoop rather than blow out debris
- Plug downspouts so they don't clog with debris. Those are pipes that carry rainwater from a roof to a drain or to ground level.
" Look for the rot and decay," said Leep. "Look if there needs to be repairs to your gutter system if it's pulling away from the roof's edge. Also you can really get a good feel for how your downspout is. Sometimes those get clogged too and they're an important part of the maintenance of your gutters."
Climbing a ladder can be dangerous. PEMCO says about 100,000 people end up in emergency rooms every year from ladder falls.
You can buy some gutter cleaning gadgets online to stay off the ladder. Those gadgets fall into three categories.
The first is an extender and hook attachment you put on your shop vac. You hold the extender and slowly walk along the gutter to suck out the leaves and gunk.
Another type uses an extender hooked to your hose to blast away the gunk with pressurized water.
The final type is a remote-controlled robot that roots along and dislodges the gunk and kicks it out over the side of the gutter.
"We do want you to be aware that some of these products are testing in conditions that aren't the same as what you may have at your home so just keep that in mind," said Leep.
If you want someone else to do the job, make you do your research before hiring. Many window washers offer gutter cleaning services, so you might be able to save some money with a package deal.