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Get a step up on fall
Gutter cleaning is one of the most dangerous household tasks. Here’s how to stay safe.

After the summer storm season we had, chances are there’s some debris sitting in your gutters. Before you head up to dig it all out, make sure you’re following these commonsense safety tips to stay out of the emergency room this fall. Because the only kinds of excitement we want this season is discovering giant zucchini in the garden or maybe – if we’re feeling really adventurous – trying out a new apple crisp recipe.

 

Gear up

There could be more than leaves in your gutters. Mold, bacteria, sharp objects and even wasps could be in there as well. Make sure to wear heavy gloves and safety goggles. And this is no time for flip-flops – make sure to wear shoes with rubber soles for traction to avoid slips and falls while climbing your ladder.

 

Ladder safety

Invite a friend over to spot you (we find that bribing our friends with apple crisp or zucchini cake works well). If using a step ladder, never step on the top two rungs. If using an extension ladder, always extend the ladder three rungs beyond the roof edge and secure the ladder from tipping with rope at the top of the base. Use the rule of threes: always keep both your feet and one hand planted on the ladder to avoid any accidents.

Going up and down the ladder to move it frequently might seem like a pain, but it’s worth it. Most accidents happen when trying to overreach, so always move the ladder to a new spot instead of reaching further down your gutters.

Be aware

Recent strong summer storms may have damaged your home’s wiring and nearby power lines. Read up on our electric safety tips and resources before you head out to check your home’s electrical cable where it connects to the roof before gutter cleaning, and never touch a broken or damaged wire on your own. If the roof is wet, stay off it. Water and metals are both conductors of electricity.

When you’re done, make sure to thank your friend and head inside for a much-deserved cup of jo and some warm apple crisp with whipped cream. You'll want to read our "Embrace fall with Grandma's recipes" blog for the recipe!

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