5 Safety Tips for Summer Home Maintenance Tasks
Home maintenance is a high priority in the hottest season of the year. With rising temperatures and sudden storms, you want to secure your property against the perils of summer weather. Beyond a broken HVAC system, a small leak in the roof could cause untold amounts of water damage to your ceiling and walls.
This is the perfect time to schedule inspections and make the necessary repairs. Fortunately, you can handle most maintenance tasks on your own with the right tools and a positive mindset. It's easy enough to clean your gutters, wash your deck and attend to similar duties — as long as you remain cautious.
Though most maintenance tasks seem pretty benign, no one plans for an accident. They happen without warning, when you least expect it, and you can potentially harm yourself if you don't take precautions. What should you do to mitigate the risk of injury when working around your home?
Here are five indispensable safety tips for summer home maintenance.
1. Only Work With Chemicals in Well-Ventilated Areas
Even a common task like cleaning a bathroom with chemical solutions is potentially harmful without proper ventilation. Other jobs, like repainting your interior or refinishing your floors, can also cause respiratory issues.
When you're working with chemicals in an enclosed space, open the windows to release any trapped fumes. Wear a respirator, safety goggles, gloves and sturdy footwear to avoid any chemical burns or eye injuries. Protective equipment will vary from project to project, so use your discretion.
2. Follow the Standard Protocol When Using Ladders
Your gutters play an important role in protecting the siding, doors, windows and foundation of your home from water. Naturally, you have to keep them clear of debris, but it isn't as simple as climbing the general-use ladder you store in your garage.
It's best to avoid orchard or wooden ladders, as they tend to wobble. Opt for an aluminum ladder instead. Examine it beforehand, checking for dents, defects, and loose bolts or screws, and ask someone to spot you if possible.
Remember these tips for ladder safety as well:
· A stepladder will suffice for a one-story house, but if it has two or more stories, you'll need an extension ladder.
· If you lean an extension ladder against your gutters, protect it by placing a short 2x4 inside.
· Fiberglass ladders are also adequate for this type of job, but they're heavier and only good for shorter periods of work.
· The ladder should have a shelf sturdy enough to hold a 5-gallon bucket secured with a lanyard.
· Make sure to extend the ladder fully until the arms lock in place.
· Keep your hips squarely between the two rails and try not to lean over the sides.
· Stay off the top two rungs.
3. Choose the Correct Protective Equipment for the Job
You should also give thought to your gloves. You might own a cotton or leather pair, but these can cause problems. Cotton has a tendency to soak up dirty water and bacteria, and leather ones are often inflexible and shrink when they dry.
Thick, suede gloves are your best option. They'll ensure your safety and improve efficiency while cleaning, perfect for gutters.
4. Clean the Work Area After You're Finished
After you've finished a task, you'll need to clean up your work area. This may seem like an obvious suggestion, but it's all too easy to rush as you're storing tools, equipment and various items.
· Seal containers of sensitive liquids and materials.
· Remove power tool leads from any wall sockets.
· Place power tools in an area inaccessible to kids.
· Roll up extension cords, ropes and lines.
· Fold and stow ladders in a safe location.
· Collect and discard remaining debris.
Whether you're completing a maintenance task or working on a DIY project, these steps are essential.
5. Acknowledge Your Limitations and Ask for Help
As mentioned earlier, you can handle most tasks on your own without the help of a professional. However, it's critical to acknowledge when you need to contact someone with more experience. Many projects fall outside the category of a DIY project, and recognizing that will reduce the risk of accidents or injuries.
For example, you should leave major jobs involving gas lines, electricity and roof work to professionals. They have an informed understanding of these areas, and though you may want to save money, your safety comes first.
Choose Safety This Summer
Home maintenance is a high priority in the hottest season of the year, and now you can manage it safely. As long as you follow the five suggestions above, you can feel confident as you complete tasks around your property, secure in the knowledge you've taken the necessary precautions.
Guest Contributor, Holly Welles
Holly Welles is a home improvement writer who believes anyone can make the most of their space. You can find more of her work on her blog, The Estate Update.