Fall may be full of favorites — Halloween, colorful leaves, kids going back to school — but it's also a good time for some essential home maintenance. Before cold weather comes, take time to safely complete these essential fall cleanup tasks.
Tips to safely clean your gutters
Clearing your gutters of fallen leaves and other debris is a crucial task before temperatures drop and snow begins to fall to help keep ice from building up in your gutters. It might also help prevent water from leaking into your basement. Do it safely with these tips:
- Alert your family or a neighbor that you'll be cleaning the gutters, and check in with them at a planned time.
- Practice ladder safety:
- Inspect the ladder for defects and tighten any loose parts before climbing,
- Always keep one hand on the ladder,
- Avoid reaching too far, and
- Enlist the help of a family member or neighbor to hold the ladder base.
- Wear gloves to protect your hands from potentially harmful bacteria or thorns.
- If you have to get on the roof to access part of your gutters, wear nonslip shoes.
- Consider hiring a professional if you believe cleaning your gutters is dangerous.
Removing fallen leaves and other debris from your yard helps maintain curb appeal and a tidy landscape. Plus, it helps gets rid of material that might kill plants and lawn underneath. But even the simple task of raking leaves can lead to back injuries or falls. Follow these tips to help keep leaf-raking safe:
- Do a 10-minute warm up before you start raking.
- Wear gloves and long sleeves to prevent hand blisters and protect against any thorns or poisonous plants that you might collect.
- Avoid twisting your back to rake in a new direction; turn your feet first.
- Use your knees when lifting, and stop working if you feel pain in your back.
- Wear shoes with strong traction. Wet leaves can be slick.
- Stay hydrated and take frequent breaks.
Storms and wind can snap dead branches, which can injure people or damage items in their path. Trim your bushes and trees to keep them in good shape using the right tools and a ladder, if needed.
- Choose tools that are made for trimming trees, such as a hand pruners, loppers or a pruning saw, and make sure your tool is sharp.
- Follow proper trimming procedure according to the size of the limb. Check pruning guidelines for more guidance to achieve healthy growth.
- Wear gloves and long sleeves to protect your hands and arms.
- Follow the guidelines for ladder safety listed above.
Consider hiring a professional if you believe trimming your tree is dangerous.