It’s easy to overlook a home’s gutters when they are working properly. They simply drain the water away from the roof, and as long as they are in good order, your roof should be protected from water damage. However, if you live in a location that gets freezing temperatures in the winter, you should take special care of your gutters, especially if they begin filling with snow-melt and freezing. Here’s everything you need to know about why your gutters freeze and what to do about it.
Why Gutters Freeze
A home’s gutters have basically one job – to divert water away from the top of the house as quickly as possible. However, occasionally, water will fill up the gutters and freeze, forming ice dams. To combat this issue, you should take special care to clean out your gutters, especially in the autumn when leaves and twigs are falling from the trees. The gutters should be clean and free from debris so that any rain or melting snow can flow freely through the system.
What’s the Problem with Frozen Gutters?
You might be wondering why you can’t just wait for warmer weather to melt the ice that has frozen in your clogged gutters. You can, of course, but the best thing to do is to prevent the ice dams in the first place, as they can cause significant damage under certain circumstances. When the gutters freeze up, the ice weighs them down, which could cause them to detach from the home or bend drastically. This means that you’ll have to replace the gutters entirely, a costly problem.
Ice dams can also cause water to back up into your roofing system where they can end up keeping liquid water on your roof, allowing it to slowly seep in around your shingle system. If left unattended, an ice dam of that caliber can quickly destroy your roof deck and seriously impact your home’s structural integrity.
What to Do
If you’re already experiencing some frozen gutters at your home, there are a few things that you should do:
- Don’t Break the Ice.
You may want to get out there immediately and start chipping at the ice to relieve some of the weight, but you run the risk of harming the actual gutters. You should never try to simply break the ice off of your roof.
2. Check the Roof
If there is an ice dam in your gutters, this means that melting snow or rain cannot effectively be removed from the roof, which could result in leaks. Check indoors to see if there are any leaks coming from the roof. You may also want to get onto the roof itself to do a manual inspection for damage.
3. Wait It Out or Use De-Icer
If your gutters are absolutely frozen solid, the best thing to do might be to wait it out. As mentioned above, breaking up the ice could cause damage to the gutters. Instead, waiting for warmer temperatures to melt the ice is a good option; then, you can clear out the gutters from debris and take preventative measures to protect against another freeze.
Alternatively, you can try to remove ice dams yourself by using de-icing materials such as calcium chloride if you’re trying to find a faster solution to alleviate your ice dam issues.
4. Contact the Pros
If you have found damage in the roof and need your gutters cleared out immediately, contact a professional service to use a hot water or steam procedure to clear the ice. Then when the gutters are clear from ice, take time to prepare them against more ice.
Contact Us Today
Freezing gutters can be a big job to repair but catching it in time is helpful to prevent roof leaks or other house problems. If your gutter system damaged your home’s roof, our team is happy to be able to offer roof replacement services to New England homeowners in need! You can reach our team by calling us at (800) 474-4493 or by filling out our team’s online contact form! We look forward to hearing from you and assisting with your home improvement needs!