Why Cleaning Gutters with Live Wires Can Be Dangerous

Cleaning gutters is an essential part of home maintenance, which can be useful in keeping your home as well as the surrounding environment clean and safe. However, many homeowners miscalculate the safety of this job and suffer from serious injuries or even death.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, over 20,000 people are injured while cleaning gutters each year. Of these injuries, approximately 870 are serious enough to require hospitalization.

One of the most significant hazards when cleaning gutters is electrocution. When you clean your gutters, you are working in an environment with live wires and high-voltage currents, which can cause serious physical harm or death. 

What Are Live Wires?

Live wires are the electrical lines that run from your house to the power pole, which provide energy for your home. When you touch or come into contact with a live wire or another electric current, it can cause electrocution. If not treated promptly, this condition can be fatal.

How Can You Get Electrocuted While Cleaning Your Gutter?

There are many ways to get electrocuted while cleaning your gutter, but the most common is by touching a live wire or another high-voltage current. You can easily get electrocuted if you don't know how to identify these wires. 

Your ladder might be in contact with the wire, or you may grab one when stumbling. You could also be standing on wet or icy ground and receive an electric shock from the water.

If I Turn Off The Power To My Home, Will That Keep Me From Getting Electrocuted?

No, turning off the power to your home is not a guarantee that you won't get electrocuted. If you are holding a metal tool, the presence of overhead lines will allow an electric current to transfer through the air and into the tool resulting in you getting shocked.

The same thing can happen if you're wearing any type of metal jewelry. It acts as an antenna, and the current from the overhead lines will flow through it to reach your body.

What Happens If You Get Electrocuted?

The severity of an electric shock depends on the voltage and how long you were exposed to it. If you are exposed for a short period of time, it will only cause burns or pain. In some cases, it may even cause cardiac arrest. 

However, if you are exposed for longer periods of time and at higher voltages, your body can be severely damaged. Not only will you have to deal with the high medical bills, but also the time and expense of recovery.

Recommended Safety Measures For Cleaning Gutters

The Ladder Is Unstable

When cleaning your gutters, make sure that you set up the ladder on a stable surface. Check if it's in contact with water or wires before climbing up. If you have to move it, make sure that you do so slowly and carefully. 

Safety Equipment

The best way to make sure that you're safe while cleaning your gutters is by wearing safety equipment. A pair of goggles will protect your eyes from debris that may fall when you are cleaning them, as well as any chemicals used in the process. 

Safety gloves can also be worn to prevent cuts and scrapes from occurring during the cleaning process. Insulated gloves will also protect you from getting electrocuted by any power lines that may be in contact with your roof.

When cleaning gutters or other outdoor work areas, wear closed-toe shoes with rubber, non-skid soles. It allows a solid and firm grip on the ladder. On the off-chance, the ladder comes in contact with a live wire; the rubber soles will act as insulators and prevent you from getting shocked.

Not Cleaning At The Right Time

Don't clean your gutters during or just after a heavy rainstorm. The presence of water on the ground not only makes it slippery but also provides the perfect conditions for electrocution. 

The best time to clean your gutters is when it's dry outside, and the sun is out. This way, you can see any leaves or debris that may have fallen into your gutter during a storm.

Get In Touch With Professionals

If you're not confident about climbing a ladder to clean your gutters, or if it's simply too dangerous for you to do so, then it's best to get in touch with professionals. They'll have the right equipment and training to safely remove any debris from your gutter system while they're at it.