How to Use an Extension Ladder

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Exterior jobs around the house don't always come on the first story, and few people are tall enough to reach 8 feet or higher. For painting, cleaning gutters, working on the roof or caulking jobs, the extension ladder is an essential tool.

Things You'll Need

  • Extension ladder
  • Extend the ladder at least 3 feet beyond the length needed for the job. Put the rung locks in place so that the top part doesn't slide down as you're erecting it.

  • Lay the ladder on the ground and place the base firmly against the wall.

  • Go to the top of the ladder, lift it, get underneath and gradually raise it as you walk toward the wall.

  • Lift the base of the ladder and move it away from the wall. The distance from the wall should equal one-fourth of the extension ladder's height.

  • Use both hands, ideally, while climbing, but if you must carry something, face the ladder and hold on with one hand.

Tips & Warnings

  • Hook one leg over a rung if you need to work with both hands.
  • Keep your hips between the rails. If you need to reach, move the ladder.
  • If the ladder wobbles when you begin to climb, get down and change the ladder's position until it is steady.
  • Avoid the top three steps of the ladder. The top portion can be unstable and invite a fall.
  • Before erecting the ladder, check for any power lines in the area. A metal or wet wooden ladder conducts electricity and can deliver a fatal shock if it touches a power line.
  • Follow the rule about distance from the wall. If the angle is too steep, the ladder could fall.

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