The Dangers of High-Up Home Maintenance

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

Some home maintenance tasks can make you feel like a trapeze artist. In fact, the truth isn’t far off. The ability to trim your own trees or clean your own gutters and windows can significantly reduce your home maintenance costs, but the risks frequently outweigh the rewards. At the very least, know what you’re getting yourself into and don’t become one more tragic story—one more homeowner working without a safety net.

Gutter Cleaning: Don’t get so focused on the height and ladders that you ignore other potential dangers along the way. Gutters can have sharp, exposed edges, so wear protective gloves. Protective goggles are also a must. You may think you’re okay getting a little dirt in your eye, but any distraction is a serious one when you’re on a ladder. Plan ahead and know what to expect. If you need to place your ladder against your gutters, put a 2×4 or other bracing support in the gutter channel to prevent the gutter from denting and other damage. In the end, you may need to bite the bullet and hire a pro. The average cost of gutter and downspout cleaning is about $200, but it could save you thousands in hospital bills.

Window Washing: Unless you have a stable base and a place to perch your ladder to minimize reaching out over the sides, you may want to buy an extension pole and stick to the ground. Or, maybe it’s time to replace your windows with easy-to-clean hardware. If there are too many dangers, you’re better off calling in the pros. The average cost for professional window washing services is about $330.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

Tree Trimming: This task is one of the most dangerous for homeowners to tackle as a DIY project. First, you can’t use a ladder. Mother Nature isn’t good at providing flat surfaces, and you’re unlikely to reach all of the branches you need to cut. You’ll need to use a harness and rope to secure yourself to at least two different points on the tree. The potential for falling limbs, flying splinters and other unpredictable debris is always present. Manual saws and chainsaws have their own unique dangers. If you need another reason to hire a tree trimming professional, consider they probably also know a lot more about when, where, and how to trim. The average cost of professional tree trimming is $930, although single trees under 30-ft. high may be trimmed for $300 or less. Several, taller trees near power lines can cost more than $1,000.

Street-Level, High-Risk, and Illegal Home Maintenance

High-up home maintenance may include the more obviously dangerous projects, but they are far from the most dangerous. Some home maintenance projects are so risky that nobody other than a licensed contractor should handle them even under the best circumstances. Most of the projects surround electrical and plumbing work, where undertaking these tasks without proper licensing is against building codes. Serious injury or home flooding can be immediate dangers when you tinker with electrical wiring or plumbing lines.

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