Stay Safe When Spring Cleaning Gutters

For homeowners, few things symbolize the arrival of spring more than the annual trek up the ladder to clean out the gutters. Though not as heavily anticipated as that initial warm weather front or the first Sunday drive with the windows down, cleaning the gutters is just as much a part of the spring season.

Though few look forward to cleaning the gutters, it's even less fun for those who get hurt doing so. To avoid turning an afternoon cleaning the gutters into an afternoon at the emergency room, consider the following safety tips.

* Inspect the ladder. Make sure the ladder is stable, all steps are still intact and not wobbly, and enlist a helper to hold the ladder if possible.

* Don't become Stretch Armstrong. Avoid an unnecessary safety risk by reaching too far when cleaning out the gutters. While getting down off the ladder and moving it might seem redundant and tiresome, it's also safe and can help homeowners avoid a fall.

* Don't just use hands. Many times hands can do an adequate job of cleaning out the gutters all on their own. However, sometimes leaves and other debris in gutters can be very stubborn, requiring a tool such as a screwdriver to remove. Wear a tool belt when cleaning gutters to avoid having to go down the ladder and find a tool. Also, if no tool is readily available, chances are you will attempt to remove stubborn leaves and debris by hand, increasing the chances you will lose your balance and fall in the process.

* Don't do it alone. Whenever possible, it's best to have a helper on hand when cleaning gutters. If no one can be outside helping, someone should at least be inside and checking on you at regular intervals to ensure you're safe. Falling while cleaning the gutters is bad enough, but doing so with no one around could prove disastrous.

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