Each year we receive a lot of concerned phone calls and questions from clients about their gutters in winter. Many of our clients struggle with ice damming, or problems with their gutters in winter. Because of this we receive a lot of concerned phone calls and questions.
Here are some FAQ’s with answers from the pros on what to expect with your gutters in winter.
Are icicles bad? What should I do about them?
Icicles often begin with poor or missing insulation and the loss of heat from your attic. When this heat escapes your attic it causes the ice and snow on your roof to melt dripping down to your roof’s edge and gutters. When this melted ice hits this area that is still cold, it refreezes causing icicles and ice damming.
Icicles are a sign that water is melting off your roof and gutter system and is not typically a “bad” thing. Having icicles on your roof or gutter system is completely normal, but can often times be inconvenient. The inconvenience comes from the dripping and formation of ice on walkways, driveways and other high traffic areas around the home.
To prevent icicles it is important to make sure your attic is insulated properly and there is little to no heat escaping. You can also maintain the snow on your roof by making sure the first 3-5 inches of snow on your roof is removed.
If icicles are a concern for you consider a heated gutter system to help eliminate ice damming and icicles. When this melted ice reaches the roof’s edge and your gutters (where it would normally refreeze and cause icicles) it will not refreeze and continue to flow downward because of the heated technology.
With open gutters, there is a channel around 5” deep for the snow and ice to fill up in. Once that is filled up the ice and snow will begin to freeze over the edge causing these icicles. With guards, the snow and ice will not accumulate inside of your gutter but will form on top of the guards, and over the edge more quickly. The guards are protecting and preventing your gutters from this buildup of ice inside your gutters. With buildup and expansion of ice, your gutters could come down and/or split.
What is an ice dam and why am I getting them?
Ice damming occurs when snow and ice on your roof begins to melt and flow into the lower part of your roof and gutter systems. When this melted ice hits an area that is still cold (your roof’s edge and gutters), it refreezes causing icicles and ice damming. This is most often caused by loss of heat from your attic. This is from warming and melting of the snow and ice on your roof. Properly insulating your attic will help to prevent this heat loss. In turn, this will help to prevent ice buildup and damming.
- Remove the first 3-5 feet of snow from your roof after every snowfall.
- Install a heated gutter system.
Properly insulating your attic will help to prevent this heat loss, which will help to prevent ice buildup and damming.
What kind of ice melt can I throw on the roof and in the gutters to help melt the ice?
Magnesium is the most effective and safest, with the least impact on the environment.
Will using a roof rake damage my gutters and/or guards?
It will not hurt your gutters or guards, it is actually helpful in maintaining their functionality and lifespan. However, it is important to be mindful and a bit more careful with the rake on your gutters and guards.
There is still time to prepare for the winter! If your gutters are still in need of winterizing give The Brothers a call and let us help to better prepare your home for the winter!