It’s a chore on every Minnesotan’s spring cleaning list: clean up the gutters. Whether you’ve got the seamless variety or traditional, scooping all that gunk out is paramount to maintaining the health of your system—and that of your entire home, as well. Indeed, dirty gutters lead to clogs which, as we covered in our condo contractor blog, can do damage right down to your foundation.

If you’re a little daunted at the thought of climbing up on a ladder and working at heights, though, you should be. Without the proper safety procedures, gutter cleaning can become dangerous, as anything that requires ladder usage does! When you know how to do it right, however, you’ll enjoy all the benefits of a job well done—and safely, at that.

Midwest Exteriors MN, your Lake Elmo provider of roofing services, gutter installation, and more, has a few tips below on how to make sure you stay safe while tidying your gutters.

Get the Right Gear

As roofing contractors, we never set foot on top of any structure without the proper safety gear, and you shouldn’t either! Though you might not need all the fancy power tools or pro-level footwear that an industry native might, you still need to gear up when you go to clean your gutters to keep yourself safe. Falls are no joke.

According to Bob Vila, a trusted home improvement resource, you’ll need, at minimum, the following before ascending even a step off the ground:

●        Safety glasses

●        No-slip boots or shoes

●        A long-sleeve shirt

●        Sturdy work gloves

None of these are particularly hard to find; you may even have them lying around the house already! If you’re short something, most of these items can be bought at your local home improvement store for relatively affordable prices. Cleaning gutters isn’t expensive if you do it yourself, but it does require some elbow grease!

Use a Spotter

Gym rats who push their limits always have someone nearby in case something goes wrong, and while gutter cleaning doesn’t require much heavy lifting, take a cue from these guys and always use a spotter. This is a person who stands below your workspace—well out of reach of your projectiles, of course—and makes sure everything is going well from the ground.

They’ll stabilize your ladder, haul away the mess, and perhaps most importantly call for help if the unthinkable happens and you were to take a fall. Though it may look to the observer that they’re standing around doing nothing, the importance of their role from a safety and convenience perspective cannot be overstated.

Is Your Spotter Responsible?

Many people like to give the job of spotting to one of their kids to get them involved in exterior maintenance. While that’s a great line of thinking, it’s important to choose someone over eighteen for this job; the safety stakes are too high, and you simply cannot trust a child to act responsibly in times of crisis (through no fault of their own, of course).

Instead, look for a partner, spouse, or friend to share the work with you. Ideally, since gutter cleaning can be quite extensive, you’ll send them up the ladder when you need a break from the harder work and vice versa.

Follow Your Ladder’s Safety Precautions

It seems obvious, right? When a potentially dangerous device gives you safety precautions, you should follow them. However, far too many homeowners ignore their ladder’s bright yellow labels in the name of getting the work done quicker—or of getting the job done in the first place—so this bears repeating. How many times have you climbed to the very top step of your household ladder without thinking about it?

A quick glance at your ladder’s labels will tell you all you need to know about how to use the device safely. You needn’t read a novel to understand its requirements! Every ladder is different, so always do a quick look-over before using a new one.

Get the Right Ladder For the Job

Depending on your weight and the amount of equipment you’ll be carrying, you may need a different ladder than the one you already have lying around your garage.

According to the American National Standards Institute, ladders have a range of weights they can carry, a number denoted by its Duty Rating, a system that begins at 200 pounds and works its way up. Taller doesn’t inherently mean stronger, the organization stresses, and one high-quality ladder might not be the right fit for every job. A step ladder is extremely different from a telescopic ladder, for example. Buying a product specifically geared towards gutter cleaning is always your best bet.

Midwest Exteriors MN: Your Comprehensive team of Gutter Installers

Looking to spruce up your home this spring—or practically do away with the chore of gutter cleaning with gutter guards? Our home and condo contractors can help. Reach our Lake Elmo office today at 651-346-9477.