So generally I use a stand-off when cleaning gutters, doing my sets on the roof to keep the ladder from resting against and possibly dinging up the gutters. On a job recently I climbed up and started to hand-clean the line when all of a sudden my arm starts a tinglin’. At first it felt like I hit my funny bone, but then I started to get all light headed and faint. I got down from the ladder and had to sit down for a few minutes to get my bearings and wrap my head around what just happened. After ruling out a stroke I followed the gutter line and the downspout just happened to come down right beside the electrical box.
I called the homeowner and told her to call the power company right away. They came out right away, saying it was a huge fire risk, and that the area I was working in had 90 volts running through it.
Now, the day this happened there was a little water in the gutters and I was wearing insulated gloves. I'm not sure what would have happen had I rested the ladder directly on them. Just goes to show some things are out of your control and even if you're very safety minded sch.
Not sure exactly. The downspout and the electrical box both entered the ground within a few inches of each other. I’ve cleaned the gutters at the same house 4 or 5 times in the past with no issues so it was a recent development.
Thanks for the concerned responses. The ladder set was up over a paved driveway so had I passed out it would have been a messy fall for sure! I generally wear my climbing helmet when doing ladder and roof work but just happened to leave it sitting in the van that morning.
That’s a scary one I have not yet heard of. I just can’t understand why the codes allow things like downspouts right at the powerhead. If you have a clog in a downspout near a powerhead, how do they expect you to safely clear the clog?
[B]I would use it right away in your marketing![/B]
Talk about how we tend to underestimate the dangers of working with ladders, and that relying on a trusted, experienced contractor is the safe bet. Speak to the fact that you recognized unusual symptoms, and immediately climbed down, and that a homeowner or contractor who didn’t know what to expect might have done lasting harm to themselves.
This isn’t playing upon fear of a bogeyman, this is the real deal. Use it to help people protect themselves.
Absolutely and well said. The homeowner was both extremely concerned and relieved that I wasn’t injured and very grateful in how I responded and addressed the situation. I’m sure she would provide a testimonial about it as well. Thanks for the advice Kevin.
I’d think it would be pretty easy during your walk-around to note any downspouts that come down right next to the electrical box. In the case that they do a voltage pen test on the downspout next to the box should be enough?
Is there maybe a way to reach the gutter from the ground with a voltage indicator? Downspout may work. If you use a stand off you could climb up and test. It would be a pain, but worth not not getting shocked (a REAL pain).