Climbing 10 to 20 feet on a ladder, moving mud, stagnant water, debris, and animal nests off of your home is not a fun weekend project but a necessary one.
Over the years, we’ve seen firsthand the snowball effect of poor roof and gutter cleaning. Unfortunately, a dirty roof welcomes mold, moss, and algae, leading to rotting and negatively affecting your curb appeal. Clogged gutters also cause significant issues with your property, including flooded basements, foundation damage, roof leakage, and ceiling damage.
Now that you know the risks, we can review how to avoid those situations and maintain your home’s value. Let’s explore the six proven tips for roof and gutter cleaning that will set you up for success.
Tip #1: Buy Proper Safety Equipment
The risks associated with roof and gutter cleaning are severe and sometimes fatal. OSHA studies have reported an 11% fatality rate from falling off a 6.5-foot ladder. Of those who survive a ladder fall, sadly, many end up developing neurological disabilities.
Proper safety equipment doesn’t stop at a sturdy ladder either. Without the proper protection for your face, you may be at risk for serious bacterial infections. The debris caught on your roof and within your gutters often carries dangerous types of bacteria. One of the most common bacteria found in gutters is legionella bacteria, also known as Legionnaires' disease. This bacteria is prevalent in gutters because of the settled water that collects there. Gutter water often contains bacteria from deceased animals, animal nests, and animal droppings. When clearing debris and water from your property, it’s easy for splashes to happen. In these cases, it’s essential to have the right safety equipment.
Essential safety equipment for roof and gutter cleaning includes:
- Safety goggles to protect your eyes and face
- Professional-grade breathing equipment when using chemical agents
- Work gloves for handling debris
- Safety harness and fall protection for ladder safety
- Boots with sole grip for ladder safety
- Fully balanced, sturdy ladder for a solid foundation
Proper safety equipment will help keep you out of harm’s way while handling your home maintenance.
Tip #2: Know Local Restrictions
There are environmental regulations that vary from state to state relating to roof and gutter cleaning. There are different chemicals that you can use to clean your roof and specific methods of disposal that you should know.
When chemically treated water is dumped into a public drain, things get complicated. Especially if that drain leads to drinking water facilities or goes untreated into rivers and lakes. If you’re using toxic chemicals, there are specific procedures that your state and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) require.
A safe alternative to using harsh chemicals is first using a power washer. Using a power washer gives you the benefit of applying hot water in a pressurized jet stream to grimy areas. If a chemical treatment is needed, we recommend using green, non-toxic chemicals, similar to the products we use at Excel, to help prevent adverse health reactions or damage to the surrounding environment.
Tip #3: Purchase the Right Tools
Having proper safety gear is one thing. Having the right cleaning equipment is a whole new ballgame.
Let’s start by addressing light cleaning projects.
For lighter cleaning, we recommend starting off with a pistol-grip spray nozzle which is the perfect add-on for your garden hose. Not only is it able to hang in place when not in use, but it also allows you to change pressure one-handed.
Some minor debris may even call for a power washer. Utilizing a power washer with special attachments and heated water removes debris and helps disinfect your roof and gutters. Adjustable power washing systems are great for roof and gutter cleaning to get through caked-on dirt without damaging your property.
When it comes to more complicated jobs, a simple hose attachment won’t do. When mold, mildew, and algae get built up on your roof and gutters, often cleaning agents are needed. There are specific cleaning agents that are safe for your roof and your gutters, but finding a non-toxic chemical cleaning agent that gets the job done can be challenging without access to industrial vendors.
At Excel Residential Services, we recommend purchasing a chemical sprayer and non-toxic cleaning agents for the more challenging jobs. In addition, it’s advantageous to find a power washer with adjustable pressure settings, along with the corresponding small, medium, and large attachments to get into all the places you need.
Tip #4: Treat This as a Two-Person Project
Ladder safety is of the utmost importance with roof and gutter cleaning. Therefore you should always have assistance when cleaning these areas of your property.
The best possible scenario is to have a helper on hand. A second person can help you by holding your ladder securely and passing you tools and cleaning equipment. If your partner can take turns clearing standing water or disposing of debris, that’s a great approach as well.
Tip #5: Know When to Ask for Assistance
As you know, roof and gutter cleaning are not easy tasks. If you’re finding that this work is too physically demanding, occupies too much time, or the equipment needed is too expensive, then we recommend asking for professional assistance.
The main benefits of using a professional cleaning service are that our expertly trained professionals already have all the necessary training, safety gear, and equipment ready to go. This will save you time, money, effort, and, most importantly, from injuries.
When considering a roof and gutter cleaning service, there is another added benefit. If you’re hiring experienced professionals, they can easily spot future costly issues early on.
For example, our technicians have spotted rot or leakage issues previously unknown to clients on regular maintenance visits. These issues can be repaired easily when caught early on. Once you fix those problems with your contractor, our cleaning team can keep an eye out for other potential problem areas for preventative maintenance moving forward.
Safe, Effective Roof and Gutter Cleaning
Although roof and gutter cleaning isn’t the most exciting weekend project for your household, it’s crucial to keeping your home in tip-top shape. If you’re looking forward to getting started the DIY way, now you know the essential tips to stay safe and get the job done.
But if you’re worried about the risk of injury or the necessary time and investments required for this job, we’re here to help. If you’re in the US Mid-Atlantic, request a free quote to cross this project off your weekend to-do list.