Gutters are at the heart of most household roofing systems. Besides minimizing water damage, they prevent soil erosion, mold growth, and insect breeding around your home.
That said, most homeowners don’t tend to their gutters until the damage is noticeable. And before they know it, the clogged gutters have pushed water back into their soffit and fascia, roofline, then into walls and the attic.
Gutter cleaning has its share of dangers, and there’s seldom any room for error. Ideally, you should hire a professional gutter cleaning service to do the work for you. But if you plan to take on the task yourself, learning about a few common gutter cleaning mistakes can help you be more vigilant.
So, let’s take a look at six pitfalls to avoid when cleaning out your rain gutters.
- Overreaching and Using Unstable Ladders
Did you know that over 100 people die from ladder-related mishaps every year? As useful as they are, high ladders aren’t completely reliable. They often have cracks and weak spots, waiting to give away under pressure. Consequently, you should never climb a ladder before inspecting it thoroughly.
Additionally, make sure you’re using a familiar ladder: one that you’ve worked with before. Unless you’re careful, you may take a nasty fall and incur some serious injuries.
Since ladders are awkward, heavy, and difficult to maneuver, you may feel tempted to reach out as far as possible to avoid repositioning them. This can also throw you off balance and lead to an accident.
Instead of overreaching, get down from your ladder, pick it up, and place it where you need it to be. Sure, it’s a little more work, but it’s far better than tumbling down from a ten-foot-high ladder.
A few other ladder safety tips you must follow are:
- Never face away from the ladder
- Always maintain contact with the ladder at three different points
- Follow safety instructions
- Do not climb a ladder in windy weather or if you’re feeling light-headed
2. Not Using the Proper Tools
When it comes to roof and gutter cleaning, you’re only as good as the tools you use. So, if you’ve opted to clean your gutters yourself, you must get the proper equipment for the job. Here are a few things you will need.
- Garden hose
- Gutter scoop
- Gutter mop/sponge
Investing in the proper cleaning tools can help you do a better job at keeping your gutters in top shape. And, if you’re unsure about what to do, simply turn to the pros for help. All you have to do is look up search results for gutter cleaning and repair!
3. Wearing Improper Footwear and Clothing
You probably weren’t planning to clean your gutters dressed to the nines. However, there are a few things you should keep in mind when picking out your cleaning clothes.
For starters, you’ll be on a ladder, high off the ground, and kicking up debris. Consequently, you should wear something warm and thick to ward off the cold. Avoid loose clothing, as it can get caught on things while you’re on the ladder. Goggles, face masks, and gloves are a must-have. You want to be as protected from flyaway dirt and dust as possible.
Additionally, it’s highly recommended that you wear proper footwear anytime you climb up and down a ladder. Rubber shoes and safety boots are ideal for this purpose because they ensure a proper grip. Wearing flip-flops and sandals are a big no-no: you require something that offers maximum support.
4. Balancing a Bucket on the Ladder
It doesn’t matter if you’re on a step-ladder or the roof, the last thing you’d want to do is bring a bucket with you. A bucket will only make things tougher: you’ll have to find a way to hold it still with one hand, all while balancing yourself.
If you do feel compelled to carry a bucket to collect all the dirt and grime, consider settling it down on the roof. Or, you can use some rope to tie it to the ladder. The important thing is to keep both hands free so that you can hang on to the ladder and stay safe.
5. Using Harsh Chemicals to Clean the Outside of Your Gutters
The exteriors of your gutters need love too! However, there’s no sugarcoating this: it isn’t easy to get your gutters looking great from the outside. Depending on the situation, you may have to use some serious elbow grease, as well as a gentle cleaning solution,
Fortunately, there are quite a few gutter cleaning tricks out there. Most homeowners swear by the water and vinegar mixture: it’s simple to prepare, does the job well, and is kind to the metal. Simply mix one cup of vinegar for every gallon of water, and you’re good to go.
In case your gutters are covered in dried dirt, use water to loosen it before you get to scrubbing. This is sure to make a world of difference.
6. Not Cleaning the Debris Regularly
No homeowner wants to spend their weekend picking leaves and pinecones out of their gutters. But leaving your rain gutter cleaning plans to the last minute can have long-term repercussions.
Gutters collect leaves, twigs, and stagnant water: all of which can block the water flowing away from your roof. Additionally, standing water may attract pests and create health issues.
Cleaning gutters once a year is never enough. You should schedule gutter cleaning and repair session at least once every season. And, in case you don’t have enough time for it, schedule a service call with the pros!
Although necessary, gutter cleaning is potentially dangerous, especially for homeowners with no prior experience. However, it’s not impossible to clean your gutters yourself. Now that you know about the most common gutter cleaning mistakes to avoid, you should be able to work past these hazards with ease. A little precaution and mindfulness can go a long way.
Do you need gutter cleaning services for your Utah home? Ace Gutter Inc is here to help! We’re your go-to people for gutter cleaning across multiple locations in Utah. Our well-trained handymen can get your gutters looking great. Take a look at our annual programs, or for questions, feel free to reach out to us today!