Ice cycles might adorn the eaves of homes on holiday cards, but these pretty signs of winter are a sign of frozen gutters and damage to your home. It’s time to take action now to prevent your gutters from clogging with leaves and other debris that can lead to frozen gutters and ice dams.
Why are frozen gutters bad for your property?
To put it simply, frozen gutters don’t effectively guide rain and melting snow and ice away from your property. One of the most significant risks of an ice dam is that the water will continue to pool and flood over the sides of the gutter, directly onto your roof and the sides of your home. If too much water stays on your roof for too long or continuously runs down the sides of your home, you risk developing a leak.
Additionally, ice can weigh down your gutters and make them detach and pull away from your home. Not only do you need to have your gutters repaired or replaced, but you also put your home at risk of leaks and water damage.
6 Tips to prevent frozen gutters
Preventing frozen gutters is far easier than having to deal with frozen gutters and downspouts.
Keep your gutters clean
If you have trees in your yard or neighborhood, the chances are that some leaves will end up in your gutters. One of your annual fall tasks should be to clean out your gutters or hire a professional to get the job done. Leaves and other debris can clog your gutters and cause water to pool and freeze.
Consider salting your gutters
While you’re up there, you can sprinkle sodium chloride into your gutters — but don’t use the rock salt that you would spread on your sidewalks or driveways. Rock salt can damage your gutters, but sodium chloride can prevent ice from forming in the first place.
Make sure your gutters are sloped
Your gutters should be slightly sloped to ensure any water flows to your downspouts. Completely flat gutters can interfere with sufficient drainage.
Check your roof insulation
If your roof is adequately insulated, the shingles will stay cold and prevent snow and ice from melting throughout the winter and overflowing your gutters.
Shovel your roof
You can also get a special roof rake to remove snow from your roof before it can melt and overwhelm your gutters. This can be especially helpful if we get a heavy blizzard this winter, as it reduces the overall burden on your roof while also protecting your gutters.
- Checking ventilation around eaves and ridge
- Capping attic hatches to reduce heat escape
- Identifying areas that need insulation
- Checking and repairing the flash around your chimney
- Adding sealant to electrical cables and pipe vents
What should I do if my gutters freeze this winter?
Hire a professional, like the guys at Trusted Vets. While you could try to lug hot water up to your gutters or apply calcium chloride to melt the ice dam, it’s going to be time-consuming, awkward, and probably not all that effective.
Try to break up the ice with a hammer. It’s dangerous for you and you could end up damaging your roof or gutters even more. You also shouldn’t try to melt the ice yourself with a blowtorch, hairdryer, or another heating device. You could end up starting a fire.