Clean gutters are important all year round. Gutters full of dried leaves in summer pose a fire hazard, while a clogged gutter system in winter might prevent you from filling your rain tank, and will diminish the quality of your rainwater.

As we get older, home maintenance tasks such as cleaning the gutter become more than just an inconvenience- you may put your health and safety at risk if your push yourself beyond your physical capabilities. Let's look at some helpful tips and tricks to help seniors clean gutters effectively and safely.

Use the Right Equipment

A good quality, sturdy aluminium ladder is crucial to the success and safety of your gutter cleaning mission. While fibreglass ladders are an excellent option they are also very heavy and cumbersome to move around while cleaning gutters.

A gutter can be cleaned easily enough if the right equipment is on hand. Using a plastic gutter scoop will let you remove even the stubbornest debris from your gutter, without damaging the gutter system like a metal scoop can. Look for a scoop with a comfortable, soft-grip handle, at an angle that does not cause your hands and wrists discomfort during use.

Attaching a pistol trigger spray nozzle to your garden hose is highly advisable- you will be able to spray the gutters after scooping out debris, using one hand to operate the hose and one to keep a strong hold on your ladder. As an added bonus, you can hang the spray nozzle on a ladder rung while using your gutter scoop, so you have ready access to your hose at all times. If you suffer from arthritis or carpal tunnel, look for a trigger that is easy to use and does not tire your wrists and hands.

Rather than double-handling the debris by scooping the waste out of the gutters and onto the ground for collection later, use a bucket attached to the ladder using a hook to collect the debris as you go. This is only a useful solution if you feel confident and strong enough to carry a bucketful of debris down the ladder safely- otherwise, collecting the debris from the ground is a safer solution.

Put Safety First

Correct use of a ladder is of the utmost importance when cleaning gutters, and if you do not feel comfortable with safely assembling, moving and climbing a ladder then please enlist the help of a family member or friend, or hire a professional gutter cleaning service. Safe gutter cleaning for an older person requires you to be an experienced ladder user, with good balance and endurance for physical tasks. For more information on using a ladder safely, see this helpful guide

Wear sturdy rubber-soled shoes while you're cleaning your gutters, to give yourself the best possible grip on the ladder or roof. It is also important to protect your hands with well-fitting gloves with grip pads on the palms and fingers.

Wear protective eyewear that fits comfortably over your prescription glasses, and if you prone to upper respiratory issues you may want to wear a dust mask for added protection. If you have asthma medication, or any other medications that you may require at short notice, keep them in your pocket or a zip pouch around your waist while you're working outside.

Keep Good Company

If you have a helpful family member, friend or carer who is available to assist you while cleaning your gutters, it is highly recommended that you ask for their help. Another set of hands is invaluable with a job like gutter cleaning, as they can help move and steady your ladder, empty buckets of debris, and monitor your safety throughout the process. At the very least, please inform a neighbour or relative that you will be cleaning the gutters, so they can check in on your health and safety during or afterwards.

Prevention is Better Than a Cure

After you have cleaned your gutters out safely and effectively, consider having gutter guards installed. A preventative measure that will stop debris entering your gutter system, gutter guards will ensure that you will never have to clean your gutters again. Contact your local plumber or handyman (such as O'Boyles Roof Plumbing) for more information on preventative gutter solutions.