Most of the time when we hear the word winter, we think frigid temperatures, wintry mix and snow. And that is true for our locations in the northern zones. However, for our locations in the southern zone, winter isn’t so cold or extreme. Since gutter cleaning can only be done when temperatures are above freezing, we typically suggest that cleanings take place during the spring and fall. In regions where freezing does not occur, cleaning gutters in winter is not typically an issue. In addition to temperature, environmental changes during those seasons have a greater effect on the collection of debris in the gutter, leading to a greater demand for cleanings.
If you missed cleaning gutters in the fall, you may have issue going into winter. These issues are not always evident in the winter because your gutter is frozen, but during the first thaw they’ll show. The excess debris in your gutters that was not cleaned prior to winter will result in a sort of debris popsicle within your gutter system.
Cleaning Gutters & Products
During an unusual period of winter thaw, you may be able to use gutter cleaning tools to remove blockages from the gutters and downspout areas. However, it is recommended that you let the pros take care of your concerns. Keep in mind that winter services will vary in the winter months in northern regions.
Common Gutter Concerns During Winter
- Snow sitting on top of your roof
- Weight of ice in/on your gutters
- Ice damming
- Damages due to added weight from snow and ice
- Winter storm damage
Ice damming is not a situation a homeowner wants to deal with. Despite popular belief, gutters do not cause ice damming. Ice damming begins with your insulation. It occurs when the warm air is escaping from the attic causing the snow on the roof to melt. When the melted water reaches the surface of your cold gutter, it will refreeze on and over your gutters.
Your first step to avoiding ice damming is proper insulation. But, you can also take the proactive approach to preventing ice damming by using a roof rake to clear a few feet above the edge of the roof. It can help to eliminate the buildup of ice dams. Adding heat cable to your gutter system is also another preventative measure with little to no maintenance. It will keep your gutters at an above freezing temperature and will slowly melt snow and ice buildup on your system to manage ice damming.
As mentioned above, winter services vary for our northern hemispheres. Here is a list of what can and cannot be done in the colder temperatures to better clarify (weather permitting of course):
What Can Be Done In Freezing Temperatures?
- Gutter and downspout installations
- Gutter & guard installations (must install both for it to be doable in winter)
- Heated gutter & guard installations (must install both for it to be doable in winter)
- Snow guards for metal roofs
- Fascia & fascia wrap (if getting full gutter install)
What Cannot Be Done In Freezing Temperatures?
- Cleaning gutters (due to freezing, it’s too cold to clean gutters)
- Gutter guards on existing gutters (due to freezing, it’s too cold to clean gutters, which we do before installing guards)
- Repairing or resealing existing gutters
While our services may be impacted in some regions during the winter months, we are still open for business. Our warmer locations are typically “business as usual” in winter. And cleanings are generally not impacted much.
How Often Should I Clean My Gutters?
- At least twice a year – typically once in spring and once in fall when leaves have all fallen
How Do Gutter Guards Work?
- Guards act as a filtration system to keep debris out of your gutters (i.e. leaves, shingle grit, small animals and pests)
- They prevent the possibility of interior clogs from happening in your gutters and downspouts
- They add strength to the whole system during winter
- Guards reduce the risk of the system breaking or detaching due to the weight of the snow or branches laying on them.
Do I Need To Clean My Gutters With Guards?
- Quality gutter guards work to eliminate the need for interior gutter cleanings
- No products are “maintenance-free” and may require occasional brushing off on top of the guard system
While some of our locations gutters are in the deep freeze of winter’s wrath, not all of them are. We are all open during the winter season, but some of us are impacted more by the cold than others. Your best bet is to contact The Brothers that just do Gutters to discuss your circumstances and get a free estimate.