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Homeowner’s Guide to Ladder Safety

Posted by Kevin Leahy on September 19, 2018

Do you like to be handy around your house, taking care of all the little and big projects that come with being a home owner, but are concerned about climbing a ladder?

Ladder safety is serious business, but with the right type of ladder and the right precautions, you can easily tackle all those projects that need a little elevation. Think about how much money you will save when you will no longer have to rely on professionals all the time.

Check out our Homeowner’s Guide to Ladder Safety:

Choosing the Right Ladder

The first step, no pun intended, you need to take is to choose the right ladder. If it is not the right height or sturdy enough for the project you are undergoing, you might be putting yourself in a precarious situation.

Answer these questions while choosing the right ladder for the job:

  • Is it tall enough to reach where I need to go?
  • How much weight will be needed to hold the ladder in place?
  • Is the job indoors or outdoors?

Getting Started

Once you have selected the right ladder, you need to make sure that you place the base of the ladder on a firm surface, never on a wet and slippery or soft surface.

Keep these other tips in mind also:

  • If you have to use a ladder on a soft surface, then put a board underneath the ladder’s feet.
  • Never lean a straight or extension ladder against an unstable surface like a window pane.
  • Always place the ladder one foot away from the surface it’s resting on for every 4 feet of the ladder’s height.
  • Make sure to secure the ladder to an upper support structure.
  • If you are using a step ladder, check to be sure it is fully open before you step on it.
  • Have someone with you who can guard any nearby doorways so no one walks by unexpectedly and knocks you off.
  • If the ladder won’t reach high enough, get a taller ladder before continuing. Never place a box or other type of object on the ladder for extra height.

Always Stay Alert

One of the most important things to remember when working on a ladder is to always stay alert. No matter how many times or how many different situations you have handled being on a ladder perfectly, you must never grow complacent because that is when mistakes happen.

While you are on the ladder, always face the ladder and always grip the rungs, not the side rails. Always being touching the ladder in three spots. This could mean two feet and one hand or two hands and one feet. Also, never get off a ladder from the side.

When using an extension ladder, be sure to extend it 3 feet about the roof or platform you are trying to reach. While you are up there, do not stand any higher than the third rung and do not lean over or overreach while on the ladder. If you can’t reach something, the safest approach is to reposition the ladder.

You should also never climb a ladder when you have tools or other objects in your hands. That is what your tool belt is for. You should also always wear slip-resistant shoes. And remember that only one person should be on the ladder at the same time.

Other tips to keep in mind include never using a ladder in windy or bad weather, and always clean up the ladder after each use. Get more tips from the American Ladder Institute.

The Ladderless Approach

If even with this Homeowner’s Guide to Ladder Safety, you are still apprehensive about climbing ladders. Don’t worry there are still ways to get common household chores like cleaning out the gutters done without needing a ladder.

One option of course is to hire a professional cleaning company. If you are going to do it yourself, make sure you have a sturdy ladder and never ever stand on the top two rungs. By using a leaf blower or a hose, you can also limit the amount of time you might need to be up a ladder. Make sure you wear goggles and a dust mask and heavy work gloves. You can also purchase a gutter cleaning kit that can connect to your leaf blower.

Besides focusing on what is just in the gutters, also make sure to use the leaf blower to blow any leaves or debris off the roof itself so it doesn’t all end up in the gutters the next time it rains.

There are also different gutter guards and leaf-catchers that can help make maintaining your gutter system a lot easier. But be careful when choosing one because, debris can still settle through them and many of these products are not cheap. If you do decide to get one, make sure it can be easily removed for cleaning.

Another product that can make maintaining your gutter system easier is TheSpoutOff. It is especially helpful if you have small rain gutter outlets because TheSpoutoff outlets are designed with a larger opening allowing for water to still run down even if other parts of the gutter are clogged. Another great plus is that these outlets are easy to keep clean through the removable downspout that allows you to check on the outlets without having to climb a ladder. With TheSpoutOff, a fear of heights or balance concerns will no longer keep you from properly taking care of your home and it is a lot cheaper than hiring a professional cleaner to come regularly to clear out all the debris.

The SpoutOff can be retrofitted to your current gutter system or it can be added to a new one, depending upon your needs. The instructions are relatively easy to follow so it is something you can easily install yourself, but any local gutter company can do it for you as well.

Want to learn more about how TheSpoutOff can make your seasonal outdoor chores a lot easier? Contact TheSpoutOff today to learn how it can take the hassle out of cleaning your gutters.

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