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Fall home maintenance safety tips

Fall maintenance and cleanup tasks can be dangerous. Before winter comes, get our tips for cleaning gutters, raking leaves and trimming branches safely.

A gloved hand uses a tool to clean leaves from a house gutter during fall home maintenance.

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.

Gutter cleaning safety tips

Clearing your gutters of fallen leaves and other debris is a crucial task before temperatures drop and snow begins to fall. 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 — always keep one hand on the ladder, and avoid reaching too far. 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.

Safety tips for raking your yard

Removing debris such as fallen leaves from your yard helps maintain a tidy landscape and gets rid of material that might kill plants and lawn underneath. But even the simple task of raking leaves can cause back injuries, falls and more. Follow these tips to help keep leaf-raking safe:

  • Warm up your body before you start raking.
  • Wear gloves and long sleeves to protect against any thorns or poisonous plants that you might collect.
  • Avoid twisting from 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, if needed.

Safety tips for trimming your branches

Storms and wind can snap dead branches, which can injure people or damage items in their path. Keep your trees and shrubs in good shape using the right tool and a ladder, if needed.

  • Choose a tool that's made for trimming, such as hand pruners, loppers or a pruning saw. Make sure the tool is sharp.
  • Follow proper trimming procedure according to the size of the limb. Check pruning guidelines (widely available on the internet) for more guidance on pruning to achieve healthy growth.
  • Wear gloves and long sleeves to protect your hands and arms, and follow the guidelines for ladder safety above.

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