Tag Archives: safety

Ladder Safety

The gutter system needs to be regularly cleaned so it’s kept in its top condition. No matter how tough the weather condition is or what kind of debris that your roof receives – as long as the gutters are well maintained – any issues will be manageable. An important tool needed for gutter maintenance can’t be taken for granted: the ladder.

Ladders are needed for easier access to your roof, when climbing up to it is a bit hazardous. The average house roof is about 5 meters high, so the ladders are your best bet. Scaffolding is also encouraged but that’s used more on house renovations or construction. However, for the normal gutter cleaning that one will do – the ladders will help get the job done. Having your own ladder is a good first step, but properly using it is still on of the neglected aspects of this important house tool. Thousands have been treated for ladder related injuries and composes of cuts, bruises, broken bones and even casualties.

There are two types that can be used – an A-frame ladder and an extension ladder. A-frame ladders are the type that forms an A-shaped ladder when erected and provides good support and usually the best type for gutter cleaning. The A-frame ladder is also very useful for tool placement – they come with small platform attachments for you to put your cleaning tools such as a bucket, shovel or a gutter brush. However, these types of ladders can’t go very high and is best for small gutter cleaning tasks and won’t be that effective for houses that are more than a floor high. The extension ladder is completely different. Usually from 7 to 10 feet high, it’s effective for reaching higher places and can be extended for added height. The way it stands is entirely different. In order for this ladder to be used, it must be leaning against a wall or the roof. The bottom part of this ladder have feet that rotate or adjust according to the ground level. It can be the best ladder for gutter cleaning as one can reach the gutters with ease. However, one must carry the tools by himself/herself or needs to put them on the roof.

How can one make sure that their house ladder is properly used and will keep them safe from accidents? Simple. When cleaning the gutter, ensure that the placement of the ladder base will be on stable ground. Stable ground – simply means that it’s not muddy or soft earth as one side of the ladder might sink and you’ll lose your balance in no time. Rocky ground can also be hazardous as well as that is unstable – a single error will mean harm to the user. When using and A-frame ladder, make sure that it’s fully extended at the bottom and it’s on level ground. Ensuring these will ensure a steady placement and the tools placed on the ladder shelf won’t be dropped. If using an extension ladder, bring a bag with you so you don’t have to carry them by hand. Always keep in mind that whenever using a ladder, the 3-point contact rule is followed – the three important parts of your body is in contact with the ladder. There should always be one hand holding on to the ladder.

If you’re doubtful about the ground condition of your house, scaffolding can be used or better yet you can ask for assistance from professional gutter cleaners. Safety first.


Ice Dam Relief for your Roof

A slight formation of ice may be nice to look at, since the forces of nature made some sculptures with the help of freezing temperatures, water and ice. However, people don’t seem to know that much when it comes to the actual effects it’ll have on a house. How does it form up and what can we do to keep things away from a “frozen” situation?

A poor victim of ice dams is the gutter system. A good gutter system will also involve a good gutter cover but when the snow comes in – it’s another story. What causes an ice dam? Snow, heat, and the cold temperatures. Two main factors also play a big part. The outdoor temperature and indoor temperature – most probably the one from the attic. When the roof catches snow, the heat from the attic melts it – so presumably it’ll just flow down to the gutter and to the downspout. However, that isn’t always the case. So it flows down, then when it comes close to the gutter, the cold temperature almost freezes it immediately, building up a small dam. Unless it’s being dealt with right away, the “dam” will build up and eventually even cover up your gutter system. Definitely not a good sight to see, and not a small problem that you can deal with on another day.

Ice dams are one of the biggest spoilers of the gutter system. Some people would say that gutters cause the dams, but hey – they’re only the unwilling victims. Aside from damaging your gutters, unmelted snow will seep into the house and damage the interiors. It’ll also ruin the heat insulation of the house which will result to expensive repairs. On the other hand, that’ll be prevented – the home owner just needs to be well equipped with some tools and some adjustments to the roof and ceiling.

Having an indoor furnace isn’t enough, as too much heat on the attic will just let the melted snow flow down and get frozen at the part of the roof which isn’t heated. Proper insulation and ventilation sorts the problem out. Having exhaust vents will let warm air go through them and gets cool air in. The vents just need to be regularly checked for debris. Proper attic ventilation will smooth out the drastic changes in temperature and prevent the water to be frozen at the gutters. The vents located at the soffits or eaves are a big help already, so make sure it’s well-maintained.

Some also use a ridge vent, which is a continuous vent that runs up to the roof’s peak. Others use a turbine that’s heat-propelled and spins as air passes through. To have it prevented in the first place, make it a point to regularly rake the roof and get the snow off, and heat tapes can also be installed.

Gutter Bits #4 – Hand Safety

In cleaning out your gutter, ordinary gloves aren’t enough for picking the debris. Parts of the gutter may have sharp edges, so heavy gloves are most recommended. Safety first!

Safe Gutter Cleaning

Gutter cleaning is a regular chore for homeowners. Ladders, gutter shovels, garden hose, gloves and a garbage bag or bucket are the tools that are always used. However, cleaning isn’t simple with gutters as it involves climbing up a ladder and be slightly high from the ground. Accidents from gutter cleaning claim thousands of victims every year. Broken bones, bruises and cuts are the most common. Cleaning the gutters may look as simple as taking out the gutter cover, scooping out the debris and flushing out the remainder of the dirt, but can be hazardous when not done properly.

On solid ground: Make sure to place your ladder on a solid, level ground. Don’t put it on snow, mud and oily surfaces. The first thing you must ensure in setting up your ladder is a stable placement. In climbing up or down, always face the ladder and never carry anything on one hand. As much as possible, attach things you need in utility belts.

Garbage bag/Metal bucket: If you think tying your garbage bag to your belt is silly, think again. Tie the garbage bag or bucket to your belt as you climb up. When you’ve established a stable position on the ladder, tie the garbage bag to the ladder or hang the bucket there.

The gloves: If you find picking up dried leaves, dirt and other foreign objects in your gutter as exciting without the gloves – go on. However, the risk of bacteria from fungi, and other stuff will give you a lot of problems. Some people would even have severe allergic reactions from these. Therefore, hand gloves will keep you save. Don’t just settle for rubber gloves, go for the heavier and thicker work gloves. There are parts of the gutter that may be sharp so prevent that from happening by wearing gloves.

Shoes: As much as you want to wear those fancy flip-flops or slip-ons, when it comes to gutter cleaning it’s a big NO. Wear safety or work shoes that will guarantee you a good grip. Having these prevents you from slipping from the ladder and falling down. Falling from a high place is obviously a painful feeling. Ouch.

Simple tips like these will assure you a painless and a hassle-free gutter cleaning experience. Safety comes absolutely first.