No one wants to spend time in the emergency department or suffer a fatal injury because of a ladder fall. You can easily avoid becoming a statistic by making safety the first priority when working on a ladder.
Within Ontario, there were 8,678 emergency department visits and 1,112 hospitalizations related to falls from ladders, according to the Ontario Injury Prevention Resource Centre. With the changing of the seasons, it’s time for home improvement and maintenance. Cleaning out the garage and keeping up with gutter cleaning are also high on the priority list. The only problem is that no one wants to waste time organizing, cleaning or landscaping when everyone is relaxing. Taking it a step further, no one wants to spend the next couple weeks in the hospital after a frightening ladder fall.
Here are the best ways to stay safe this spring while making sure your rain gutters are clean and clear. Also, keep in mind our Top 5 tips for avoiding a serious ladder fall.
Gutters usually get neglected, but making sure the system remains clean and clear is important to keeping your home intact and looking good. They divert water away from your home when working right. To guarantee proper operation and flow of water, the system has to be cleaned on a regular basis or fitted with a gutter protection system.
Tools for the job
If you plan on cleaning your gutter system, the two most basic items required are a ladder and a good pair of work gloves. The only precaution before starting would be safe use of the ladder, as the potential for danger is a real possibility.
Here are some tips for properly using a ladder:
- Make sure your ladder is on a clean, dry and flat surface
- If your ladder doesn’t fold out, lean it against a hard surface. Don’t lean the ladder on your gutters, as they’ll buckle under the weight of a climbing person
- Always face your home when climbing. Make sure your gutter system is safely within your reach when cleaning
- While on the roof, make sure to keep trash bags nearby when scooping out the gutter system
- An alternative to using a ladder is a scaffold system. Despite being safer, scaffolds require a lot of time and money to construct.
Assess the situation
If you decide to use a ladder and have made it to the top to begin cleaning, it’s best to start with an assessment of the gutter system and what will be the best method for cleaning. A dirty gutter system will be full of smelly, rotten leaves, debris, grime and even pests.
The most basic way to clean your rain gutters is by using your two hands to clear and clean the gutter. Use caution if you decide to carry a garbage bag for debris disposal while on the ladder. This cleaning method requires your full attention to keep from falling. The safest way to clear gutter debris is to simply drop muck and leaves to the ground after each hand scoop. This will make a mess of the area below and may not be appropriate for every job, but it cuts down on the risk of falling from the ladder.
Another gutter cleaning technique involves the use of a high pressure spray system. This might be the quickest way to clean the gutters, as you literally pressure clean the gutters clear of leaves, grit and debris.
If a ladder or scaffold setup seems daunting or troublesome, a cleaning wand may be the best option, as you can easily clear the rain gutters from the ground below. A cleaning wand uses pressurized water to remove leaves, dirt and other debris from your rain gutters. However, cleaning wands can become clumsy and difficult to control if needed to reach the higher gutters to clean. Hopefully, these tips will help when cleaning your gutters, but the number one priority is to maintain your home safely.
Never clean again
The best option might be installing gutter guards to avoid the inconvenience and health hazards of cleaning gutters. A professionally installed gutter guard system completely protects your gutters from clogging while allowing water to flow properly away from your home.
If you’re worried about the damage clogged gutters can cause or the dangers associated with cleaning your own rain gutters, let LeafFilter™ help protect your home. The LeafFilter™ gutter guard design features a surgical-grade, stainless steel micromesh gutter protection system that is completely sealed shut, which allows nothing but water to flow into your gutters. LeafFilter™ has installed gutter protection on homes in Canada and can clean the gutters on your home before installing a protection system.