Cleaning Your Gutters – Do’s & Don’ts
Cleaning your gutters is essential for keeping a home healthy.
You know that, I know that, but getting it done is another matter.
One of the biggest challenges to gutter cleaning is the ladder fall risk. So before stepping on the ladder, here’s some Do’s and Don’ts so your ‘cleaning your gutters day’ is a safe and productive one.
The Do’s of Gutter Cleaning
1. Check for Electrical Lines:
Many homes have a secondary above ground electrical lines attached to the home. Unfortunately, these are often only inches away from the gutter. Check with your utility company to install an insulating rubber blanket or have your power disconnected while working in that area of your home before gutter cleaning.
2. Choose the Right Ladder for Your Home:
Single-Story Houses: A four-legged stepladder should be fine.
Two-Story Or More: You’ll need an extension ladder for two-story homes.
3. Make Your Extension Ladder Safe
You need two pieces of equipment for this:
- Leg Levelers – these allow your ladder to adapt to the uneven ground.
- Ladder Stabilizers – these are arms that extend out from the ladder and rest on the roof. This adds stability, and keeps you from damaging your gutter by resting the ladder on it.
4. Gear Up
- Wear thick work gloves to protect your hands from dirt, animal waste, sharp debris and other hazards. Heavy rubber gloves or latex coated gloves will provide the best protection.
- Wear protective eyewear or goggles to prevent eye injuries. Please do not minimize this as a host of animals and insects can be living within the debris.
- Use rubber-soled shoes so you don’t slip on the ladder.
5. Have a Helper
The best way to keep the ladder sturdy is to have someone hold the ladder while you’re on it.
6. Three Points of Contact
Keep both legs and one hand on the ladder at all times.
7. Bring a Bucket or Trash Bag
The debris you’re cleaning out of the gutter needs somewhere to go, a trash bag is nice because you can drop it to the ground once it’s full.
8. Have a Garden Hose Ready
Caked on dirt inside the gutter is hard to remove. You’ll need some water to loosen it so it can be scooped out.
9. A Final Check
Once the gutters and downspouts are all clean, it’s a good idea to run water through them to make sure everything is draining properly and that there’s no leaks.
The Don’ts of Gutter Cleaning
1. Don’t Work Near Electrical Lines
We already mentioned this in the Do’s, but make sure your electrical lines are insulated with a rubber blanket or your power is disconnected while you’re working in that area of your home.
2. Don’t Rest the Ladder on Your Gutters
Gutters are not designed to hold up to the weight a ladder exerts – especially not once a person is on it. The additional weight can cause them to scratch, dent or collapse. Invest in ladder stabilizers. We use the Werner 97P ladder stabilizers, these cost between $75-$100 each online.
3. Don’t Reach to the Side
It might be very tempting, this can cause the ladder to shift and fall with you on it.
4. Don’t Forget the Downspouts & Underground Drains
If the downspouts or underground drains are clogged, the water will have no where to go and will overflow. Be sure to clean these too.
Or…Skip Gutter Cleaning Altogether…
As you can tell, gutter cleaning has quite a few risks. However, to keep your home healthy, gutter cleaning has to be done regularly at least 3-4 times a year. Or, you could get Advantage Gutter Guard®. Once installed on your home, you will never have to clean your gutters again – or think about your gutters again. If you consider the time saved, the peace of mind and ladder risk-avoidance, it is more than worth the investment. Just give Gutter Cover KC a call and set up a free estimate. You won’t regret it!
Finally, gutter cleaning can be one miserable chore forever crossed off your list.
Updated from previous post November 2020