When it comes to exterior home maintenance homeowners often do not realize there is maintenance or repair needed until they see the actual problem occur. This is true when dealing with your gutter system. Your home’s exterior plays a role in protecting the inside of your home. It is important to be proactive in its maintenance. Checking these aspects of your home consistently is key. Especially prior to the winter gutters season it is very important in prevention of costly and damaging problems.
Winterizing And Your Gutters
Here are some areas of your home that you should begin checking in preparation for the winter gutters season.
- Drafts/insulation – Saving on your energy bill during the winter months can significantly increase your comfort, especially during frigid temperatures. Drafts coming from windows or doors can keep the home feeling cold and damp throughout the winter prompting you to raise the heat, and increasing your energy bill. Heat loss can also cause other expensive issues like ice damming, particularly when the heat is escaping from your attic, which we will address more in the gutter system section below. The best way to prevent heat loss is by insulating and sealing areas of escape. Having an evaluation/energy audit done on your home to check for heat loss can help to better prepare you.
- Gutter system – During the winter, your gutter system can potentially take a beating, especially during months of heavy snow and ice. Ice damming can occur on your gutter system due largely to heat loss from your attic. Essentially, ice damming is when the heat in your home escapes through your attic and makes your roof warm. After it snows the warm part of your roof will melt the snow and ice causing water to flow down to the bottom of your roof and your gutter system, which is still cold. Once the melted snow reaches the cold roof, some of it freezes and causes ice buildup and icicles on your roof’s edge, and your gutters. Ice damming has serious potential to not only damage and/or pull your gutter system down, but also cause water damage. Heattape is an advisable addition as well.
- Roof – Inspecting your roof for any sort of soft spots or leaks is essential to do before winter. A soft spot, or leaky area can mean big trouble. Especially, once the weight of snow is added to it. These spots could mean potential for serious leaks from this snow, or worse, collapsing of the roof due to heavy weight on an area that needs repair and cannot handle this weight.
- Pipes – Similar to fixing your home’s drafts and insulation, it is a good idea to insulate your pipes to prevent heat loss and slow heat transfer. You can do this by wrapping your pipes in insulation tubes made of polyethylene or fiberglass. If temperatures are particularly frigid, as they are predicted to be this coming winter, the possibility of your pipes freezing are a very real concern. When water freezes, it expands, causing added pressure on your pipes, and the possibility of your pipes bursting.
Winter Gutters Season
Each season features it’s own source of job lists. In spring and fall we are mostly out cleaning gutters and doing gutter guard installations. Come winter time, those two items become nearly impossible. Although not completely impossible, it would be far to time costly to continue to do them in winter. Although our job list changes, winter is the only season that we gain additional gutter duties. Cleaning out gutters gets replaced with removing snow and ice dams. We have done several articles on ice dams including one on how to prevent ice dams. We have also covered some of the dangers of winter to gutters. These articles illustrate why gutter work is never in hibernation.
On top of clearing ice dams or getting snow off of the roof, we also do installations. Because a gutter installation removes the entire gutter system, doing this type of job is possible to accomplish in the inclement weather of winter. Gutter jobs tend to take more time in winter than other season. But removing and installing a new gutter system is the least expensive in time.
Installing gutter guards is one of those jobs we remove from our list. Because we give a free cleaning with all guard installations, we would first have to clean out the gutter system. Cleaning ice is impossible without using an ice melt product. The melting product we do use is purpose defined for removing ice dams and not cleaning the gutter.
The Bros Can Help
Maybe this is your first time going through a winter gutters season with gutter guards on your home. You may be thinking that the ice and snow will threaten the walkways of your home with dripping water and ice. We have solutions that can assist with preventing ice from forming. If you have guards, we have a product with an ability to add heat tape to the guard system. If you are thinking about adding a gutter guard system to your home and winter ice and snow is of concern to you, call or contact us for information about our product line of winter gutter guards.