Semi-annual gutter cleaning is a chore on every homeowner’s to-do list but it’s not usually at the top of the list of favorite pastimes. However, preserving your home’s structural integrity and curb appeal, it’s a must-do for every property owner.
Every home on a permanent foundation from tiny ones to elaborate mansions has gutter drainage systems that channel rainwater from the roof and away from the home’s foundation. The sheer amount of damage that water causes when it’s permitted to seep into areas where it doesn’t belong can deplete your vacation fund pretty quickly – and maybe even tap into the savings!
Damage like chipping and cracking foundations, exterior surface decay, staining, roof deterioration, fascia swelling, ice damming, and a pest invasion is only the tip of the iceberg when considering the amount of damage and issues that a little bit of gutter maintenance can prevent.
Before cleaning out your gutters, it’s imperative that you understand the potential dangers and height risks of taking on this crucial task on your own. Keep in mind that if you do not feel safe cleaning your gutter system, be sure to hire a fully insured gutter cleaning business.
It’s Higher Than You Think
Generally, just 10% of people are afraid of heights in the United States but even among those who aren’t acrophobic, once you’ve climbed to the second-story gutter and look down, you may realize that it’s higher than you think.
Some homeowners choose to clean their gutters from a ladder or scaffolding of some sort, but others choose to get on top of the roof. When water is involved, surfaces can get slippery and result in serious injury.
Over one-fourth of all preventable household injuries in the US were from falls – where 12% of those were people under retirement age so avoid being one of the statistics by staying safe when cleaning out single or second-story gutters.
Climbing ladders over and over again as you reposition to clean the next section of the gutter line can wear on homeowners throughout the completion of the task and when tired, mistakes tend to happen. More than 500,000 people head to their local emergency room each year due to ladder incidents and falls – where more than 300 of those have dire consequences.
To stay safe, inspect your ladder to ensure its sturdy and in great shape. A word or damaged ladder could break while climbing and cause you to fall and sustain injury. If it is damaged, be sure to either have it fixed in accordance with the manufacturer’s standards or purchase a new one to clean out your gutter system.
Understandably, not every homeowner has a ladder for every use, but using the wrong type of ladder for climbing tall heights is crucial for your safety. For example, a step ladder’s top shelf (that usually has an area to hold your paint can) is not meant to stand on and cannot bear the weight of a human. Use the appropriate ladder for reaching your first or second-story gutters.
Climbing into the Unknown
If you don’t look into your gutters every day, you never know what might be lurking inside. Be cautious when reaching your hand inside the gutter line and consider what you might encounter.
When debris is left to accumulate in your gutter system, pests like mosquitoes tend to colonize there and when their home is disrupted, it could startle you and cause instability and a potential fall. Bees may also build a nest in the dry spots of your gutters. If you are allergic to bees, be prepared for every possible scenario before climbing the ladder to tend to your gutters.
Pests are one thing but other critters can climb into your gutters too. Mice, frogs, birds, and snakes are just a few examples of wildlife found in gutters that you may not expect to see when you reach your hand inside the gutter basin to clear the debris.
As you are probably aware, water and electricity don’t mix. Water conducts those volts and when contact is made, it can cause electrocution. Overhead service wires from the transformer pole to your home should be insulated according to safety standards but if they are worn over time from contact with trees or roofing, for example, they could cause massive injury to anyone who contacts them. If you have electric wire close to your gutters, avoid cleaning the area or call in a professional to tackle the job.
If your gutters have not been maintained for quite some time, you may find some areas to be damaged, rusted, or broken. Metal that’s damaged can be very sharp and cause lacerations. Wear safety gloves every time you take on your semi-annual gutter cleaning task.
Why Safety Matters
Many homeowners don’t have much experience cleaning out their own gutters since they commonly perform this home maintenance duty just twice a year. This leaves those property owners subjected to countless risks and dangers. Consider contracting your home’s gutter cleaning to the professionals who conduct this procedure all day, every day, and are masters of their craft. Be sure to research gutter cleaning companies in your area that offer a gutter protection plan, train their service technicians well, are fully insured to protect both the company and your property, and abide by all state and federal regulations.