The #1 rule in gutter cleaning is to make sure your ladder is placed correctly and someone is there to hold it steady for you!
Ladders can be rented from most local rental centers for about $40.00 – $75.00 a day, when renting a ladder make sure the ladder being used has the proper duty rating to carry the combined weight of the user and the material being installed. Note: This is not one of those times you should lie about your weight, if you gained 150lbs since your last driver’s license renewal be honest!
A ladder’s duty rating tells you its maximum weight capacity. Type I ladders have a 250 pound rating which is fine for most people and a Type IA has a 300 pound rating.
Always read the instructions that came with your ladder, you don’t want to realize you skipped a step with your 30 feet up! Place ladder feet firmly and evenly on the ground or floor, never set it up on leaves or other debris. Make sure the ladder is sitting straight and secure before climbing it. If one foot sits in a low spot, build up the surface with firm material. Do not try to make a ladder reach farther by setting it on boxes, barrels, bricks, blocks or other unstable bases.
#2 rules in gutter cleaning have the right tools for the job!
Now it’s time for the actual gutter cleaning process so make sure you get help from a neighbor, or for a real knee slapping time, get your wife or husband (whoever sent you up there) to hold the bottom of the ladder for a couple of hours while you clean gutters. You will also need a five gallon bucket with holes drilled in the bottom of it, a hammer, a very fast acting bee killer, nose plug and gloves. I would also highly recommend that you buy or rent a ladder stabilizer for around $40.00 or so. The hammer is to tighten the gutter spikes. The gloves are to protect your hands from getting cuts and abrasions from the gutters and roofing as you clean the gutters and trust me, you don’t want that to happen and I’ll explain why in a moment! If you’re not used to working on ladders it’s kind of like walking on stilts except that these stilts will feel about 80′ tall. One of the carefully hidden secrets of gutter cleaning companies is that you can get a great view of the your roof from that height and some contractors even leave behind the occasional tool, one time I found a Home light Back Pack Blower and a 5′ black snake on the same roof! I bet I know why they left the blower!
#3 rules in gutter cleaning have FUN!
Besides the cuts and abrasions you get if you didn’t take my advice and wear gloves, there is another surprise I haven’t shared with you. The Smell… Just imagine bugs, dead leaves and even dead animals sometimes that have sat in water for 6 months or more, rotting away in what is now a smelly, mosquito infested, slime coated gutter swamp! Trust me; it’s one of the pleasures in life you just need to have! If you thought that was fun now here is the real exciting part! Picture yourself on these stilts 80’in the air, ladling out this foul smelling gutter soup when a bunch of wasps fly out of the gutter stinging your hand, but wait they hang around and continue to sting you the entire time it takes you to climb down the ladder! For a real rush I suggest cleaning gutters on a house with a nest of bees called European hornets, that happened to me once and I was stung over 75 times while climbing down! For those of you that don’t know what a European hornet is, it looks like a bee version of Tom Ford, just before he ran for Governor of Toronto! They are very large bees that are considered to be almost as aggressive as killer bees, and they don’t like you messing around with their house!
#4 rule in gutter cleaning, if you’re not having fun make sure your ladder holding partner isn’t either!
Since you’re the one high up on a ladder getting stung by wasps and Arnold swarchenegger sized bees, enjoying the smell that’s comparable to the smell of a dead animal, make sure your partner doesn’t miss out on some of the action! While scooping up that vile gutter slop in your hands and dropping it into a bucket as it runs all over you adjust your aim a bit and “accidently” drop some of the wet rotting leaves on your them, or better yet, guide that foul smelling water streaming out of the holes in your bucket right onto them! 🙂
#5 rules in gutter cleaning learn to make lots of friends that will help you clean gutters because they will only do it once!
As I mentioned earlier gutter cleaning usually needs to be done 3-4 times a year, at the beginning of each season, and after all of the leaves come down in fall to prevent a buildup of debris from trees, birds and other natural causes that will clog up the downspouts. Keep in mind that plugged downspouts and gutters can be very dangerous; if you see gutters overflowing they may become loose and fall off your home onto anything or anyone below. A clogged gutter can weigh as much as 600 pounds, that’s heavier than your refrigerator! Just imagine the damage it could do if it fell on your car, or a visitor to your home! I hope you enjoyed “Gutter Cleaning Can Change Your Life, Five Fun Rules to Clean Gutters!”