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As a kid I loved going to the circus to watch all the different acts like jugglers, clowns, knife throwers, etc; however, the one performance that I truly wanted to see was the tightrope act. I was always amazed at how these individuals could balance themselves on a tensioned wire using a balancing tool (fan, umbrella, balancing pole, etc) and either dance or manipulate objects, e.g., juggle, spin plates, push wheelbarrows with passengers, climb ladders, or have pets or children in the act all while not losing their balance and falling. Of course they had a safety net and should the act go wrong and they would fall safely into the net to the thrill of the audience.

Like many homeowners, I often feel as if I am a tightrope walker myself; however, the biggest difference is that I often feel like I am performing without the benefit of the safety net when it comes to home maintenance tasks. Owning a home is the American dream, and along with that reality comes the responsibilities of home maintenance. While many of the maintenance tasks appear fairly simple like cleaning the gutters around your house, or raking the leaves up, or even washing the windows during the spring. These simply tasks can be quite difficult and dangerous if done incorrectly or if you are using the wrong tools.

While tightrope walkers appear to be taking significant risks with each step, they have also considered the potential dangers and have taken the necessary precautions. For example, when cleaning the gutters of your home it is important to have a flat base for your ladder and a location that will give you the maximum coverage without having to reach to far from the sides of the ladder. Otherwise the ladder may shoot out from under you when you are stretching for that last corner of the gutter. Making you another statistic of the Do-it-Yourself accidents that occur annually. In this type of situation it may be easier to buy an extension pole and remain on the ground where you are much safer, or you may want to call in a professional to get the job done correctly. Nationally the average cost for a professional window washer or handyman is less than $250, which would be far less expense than a trip to the emergency room.

While most home maintenance may appear to be low risk, the risk may be simply hidden from view. So be careful and when in doubt hire a professional to do the work. The costs in the long run will be minimal, and you can avoid the potential unseen risks that can be far more costly.

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About the author: Barry Crouch

 
 

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