Cleaning the gutters is a job that is often left as punishment for unruly teens, or else is procrastinated as long as possible. It isn't hard to imagine why this job is often the last people want assigned to them during chore rotations. Not only is this task going to eat up valuable hours on your days off with tough labor, but there is a very good chance that slimy water-degraded leaf matter is going to adorn your hands, forearms, and clothes by the time the job is done. There are no doubts about it – cleaning the gutters is a dirty job that few people like to do.
Still, it needs to be done. Clogged gutters can wreak havoc on the home. When blocked with moisture-laden leaf matter and other debris, your gutters will begin to corrode. Blocked gutters also mean blocked drainage, which puts your home at serious risk of experiencing water damage. In the drier seasons, gutter blockage becomes a serious fire hazard, as your roof is essentially crowned in a densely-packed ring of tinder. Furthermore, obstructed gutters make the perfect living environment for pests and mosquitoes.
Stop procrastinating! It is time to muster up the courage to clean those gutters. Before you do, though, Window Genie would like to offer you some great gutter cleaning tips to keep you safe and stress-free as you work. And don’t forget, if you need help, your local Genie is just a phone call away!
Practice ladder safety!
You can't clean your gutters without climbing up a ladder, but you should never step foot onto a ladder without a proper understanding of ladder safety.
First, it is important to always inform someone that you will be using a ladder to work on your gutters. This serves a number of safety functions. First, it guarantees that someone is aware of what you are up to, and can look out for you and check in on how you are doing periodically. Secondly, alerting those in the house or nearby will minimize the chances of being knocked off of your ladder by someone carelessly swinging a door open.
Make sure that you have a sturdy ladder that is up to code. It is helpful if you choose a ladder with a small shelf that can support a bucket filled with wet debris. Secure this waste bucket with a lanyard when possible. Wooden ladders are not recommended because of their poorer construction and tendency to wobble. Aluminum ladders are well-suited for longer jobs, where arm fatigue can accumulate, and the constant shifting of a heavy ladder in and out of position can exacerbate the issue.
Before you climb onto your ladder, inspect it thoroughly, and be sure that all of the extension-hinge arms are in proper position under full extension.
Get the right tools for the job!
One of the most valuable tools for a gutter-cleaning job is a gutter scoop. These plastic scooping implements can be purchased at almost any hardware store. The few dollars you invest in this tool will save you a lot of effort. These tools use a thin plastic scooping edge that conforms to the mold of the gutter, allowing you to scrape up even the most stubborn of rain-washed debris. Conversely, metal scooping tools should be avoided where possible. These can potentially damage your gutters, scratching or bending the pliable metal frames under heavy elbow-grease action. Any scratches will soon rust over, increasing the wear and tear on your gutters.
You should also consider getting a high-power garden hose for hard-to-reach areas, or if you are struggling with the physical demands of the job. A garden hose strapped with a pistol-grip trigger spray nozzle can do some serious damage to water-logged debris, without putting your gutters or joints at risk.
This job will require a proper set of work gloves as well. These will keep your hands clear of dirt and bacteria-laden debris, while also protecting you from cuts anywhere the thin metal gutter frame has acquired a sharp edge. Thick suede gloves are recommended because they will not be at risk of absorbing bacteria-filled water like cotton, or tearing like rubber.
The final piece of safety equipment required for this job is a good pair of eye protection. This becomes especially important when you have to apply a bit of extra muscle to get the job done, and the bits and pieces of debris start flying. More than a tissue damage hazard, this debris is often contaminated with pest feces that can cause serious eye infections to occur. Exercise caution and equip yourself with a good pair of safety glasses.
What a hassle!
Gutter cleaning really is one of the more unsavory chore options that a home-owner can get stuck with. Gutter cleaning is a time-consuming, energy-demanding, damp-and-dirty job that can be dangerous if rushed through without the proper tools. Fortunately, Window Genie is standing by to grant all of your chore-trimming wishes, and can have your gutters sparkling in no time! Contact us today to save yourself the time and trouble of a tough gutter cleaning task.