Let’s face it; cleaning out your gutters is a dirty, inconvenient, time-consuming task. But take a second to remember the reason it’s on your to-do list, and you might change your mind:
Your gutters help keep your home dry and safe. By directing water away from the house, gutters reduce the chance of hefty water damage to your basement, siding, roof, walls, foundation, and more. Those are some big bucks you’re putting on the line if clearing a little debris away doesn’t get done.
So, yes—gutter maintenance is a valuable chore. However, it is not without risk, and is a task that could lead to serious injuries if proper safety precautions aren’t taken. At Wrightway Home Improvements, we’ve learned a thing or two about completing tasks at great heights. Whether we’re installing a metal roof or new Marvin Infinity window, we’ve developed a working knowledge of the safety precautions and maintenance tricks for these kinds of jobs. Follow a few of our tips and tricks to make your gutter-clearing chore quick, easy, and safe.
Keep in mind, the safest way to avoid the risks of ladder/roof work, is to invest in an industry-leading product like Gutter Helmet gutter protection. Our team currently services the Fond du Lac, Oshkosh, Madison, and Milwaukee markets and we’re always happy to offer advice for homeowners on a best approach to low-maintenance homeownership. If you eventually choose to have Gutter Helmet installed on your home, we’ll clean your gutters for you before we install at no extra charge! We even offer an ice dam prevention product called Helmet Heat that reduces the impacts of the freeze/thaw cycle on your homes roof and gutter system.
Stick to a timeline
Wouldn’t it be nice if homes came complete with an instruction manual? Many homeowners are left on their own to figure out the dreaded “how often?” question. How often should I… cut the grass? Stain my deck? Test my sump pump? Replace my windows? Or in this case, clear my gutters?
As a general rule, you should clean your gutter twice a year—ideally at the end of each spring and fall season. If you have more trees, or trees that drop a lot of needles you may want to up that to tri-annually or quarterly (if you live in a warmer climate).
However, keep in mind that environmental changes can create exceptions. If there are large overhanging trees above your gutters, you may want to double that amount or do a little tree trimming. Or, if a particularly nasty storm rolls through, it’s a good idea to take the time to clear the debris instead of letting it molder and collect other debris.
Take general safety precautions
First and foremost: if your roof is difficult to access, or you are uncomfortable being on a ladder or performing any of the activities needed to do the cleaning, ALWAYS contact a professional. Be safe, not sorry.
Speaking of potential painful problems, and fear of heights aside, the heart of your safety should be the ladder you’re on throughout the job. Give yourself some peace of mind, and avoid using an old or rickety ladder. Wooden ladders are often difficult to balance on, and many are not tall enough to safely get the job done (that warning note that says “This Is NOT a Step” isn’t just for show—don’t over extend yourself).
Borrow or invest in either a fiberglass or aluminum ladder instead. Four-legged step ladders for single-story structures and an extension ladder for two-story buildings or taller work best.
Finally, remember there’s safety in numbers: after you’ve donned your protective gear and have put up the correct ladder for the job, make sure you have someone within sight throughout the entirety of the project.
Helpful Tools to Use
If you’ve got your gloves ready to go, you might be tempted to use your hands to clear the debris. But if you want to be efficient (or protect your manicure), try using a gutter scoop. Plastic gutter scoops are a great choice, as they have a thin front edge that can scrape along the bottom of the gutter trough, making it easy to deal with all kinds of debris. If you do not have a gutter scoop, a garden trowel can make a serviceable substitute.
Good luck and happy home maintenancing!
Wrightway is the Gutter Helmet gutter protection dealer in the Oshkosh, Fond du Lac, Madison, Milwaukee and Appleton, WI areas. We have an expansive service area and we are experts in replacing siding, Marvin windows, and gutters and installing gutter guards. Replace your windows today and free up some of your time for more important things. Find out more at www.WrightwayBuilt.com.