After autumn and winter has scattered leaves all over your yard – including into your gutters – it is time to clean those clogged gutters out. It is a necessary annual task. Before you rush out to rent a ladder, power tools and equipment, follow these guidelines which are key to a successful and safe gutter-cleaning experience:
- As cavalier as you may be about protection when it comes to the risk of falling from roof height, safety must come first.
- You never know what may emerge from your spouts when you clean them. There have been reports of rats, wasps and bees flying out when people have started to remove a clog. Wear eye protection goggles.
- Protect your hands (and health) from rotting leaf debris containing pigeon and rat droppings. The best gloves are suede: cotton can absorb the wet grime; rubber gloves tear easily and leather gloves are too rigid.
- Rubber-soled shoes will help to avoid a slip-and-fall incident if you need to walk on your roof to clean the gutters.
- Bearing in mind that 43% of fatal falls in the last decade have involved a ladder, always tell someone that you will be using a ladder. Make sure that your ladder is sturdy, with a shelf strong enough to hold a 20-litre container for the gutter debris. Examine the ladder for faults, depressions or unfastened parts before using it.
- If you are cleaning gutters near a power line that goes from the power pole to your roof, check that the protective insulation is still intact and has not rubbed off over years of wear-and-tear.
By scheduling a gutter cleaning at least twice a year, you not only avoid the risk of water damage from runoff caused by a clogged gutter and rust corrosion, the task becomes less tough.