Those glittering spears of freezing water that hangs from your gutters in the winter may look picturesque, but they signal more extensive problems. Icicles and ice dams on your gutters can cause severe damage to your home if left untreated.
In this post, we will learn why it’s essential to de-ice your gutters, how to remove the ice safely, and how to stop the accumulation of ice in the first place.
Let’s dive in.
The Problem With Ice
In the winter months, you may see a little bit of frost on your roof, which is a good sign that your home and attic are well insulated. But if warm air leaks into the attic of your home, the ice and snow on your roof will begin to melt a little, and this water will move down your roof to the gutter.
When this water reaches your gutters and gets exposed to the cold, it refreezes. As the water refreezes and continues to build up, it forms an ice dam, preventing subsequent drainage of melting snow from leaving the roof or gutter. This is where the problems begin.
Reasons to De-Ice Your Gutter System
Here’s why you need to get rid of ice forming on your gutter.
To Prevent Water Leakage
When an ice dam forms on your roof and no action is taken, the water it traps could back up under the shingles or flashing. This water could damage walls and attic insulation, cause ceiling stains, and trigger mold growth.
To Protect the Integrity of Your Roof System
If the ice dam extends from the gutter to your roof, the pool of water can creep under the shingles. And when this water freezes and thaws again, it lifts and loosens shingles and expands cracks. The leaks can also weaken structural beams and rafters.
To Prevent Paint and Drywall Damage
Over time, the effects of ice buildup on your gutters lead to blistering of the interior and exterior paint when water drips beneath the eave or under the shingles. The paint will begin to peel, while the drywall may sag and rot.
To Minimize Stress on Gutters and Downspouts
When a lot of ice and snow accumulates in your roof gutters, all that extra weight can cause your gutters to crack, sag, or completely detach from the roof. The downspouts will also block, so rainwater will backup, overflow, and build up ice, adding more weight to your gutter.
To Keep Your Family Safe
Icicles hanging along the edge of your roof may be lovely to look at, but they pose a real danger to people, pets, and property. Heavy icicles can break and fall, causing severe injuries to anyone standing underneath. In fact, 15 Americans die from icicle-related accidents each year.
How to De-Ice Your Gutters
If you often have to deal with ice clogging up your gutters, use these risk-free strategies to remove them.
Melt the Ice Dam With Calcium Chloride
Put calcium chloride de-icer pellets in tube socks. This is the same stuff used for melting ice on driveways and sidewalks. Tie the open ends with strings and set the socks vertically on the ice dam. Note that you shouldn’t sprinkle rock salt on your roof to remove ice as it can damage shingles and kill the lawn or vegetation beneath.
Melt the Ice With Hot Water
If your gutters aren’t completely frozen, and there’s only minimal ice, you can use hot water. Connect a hose to the hot water spigot and spray the ice with a constant flow of hot water. This method works best when the weather is nice outside.
Pull it Off With a Snow Rake
Don’t use tools like a hammer, chisel, or shovel to hack away ice dams, as you’ll end up damaging your gutters and roof. Instead, use snow rakes. They are long enough to allow you to pull down snow from the gutter while standing at a safe distance, so the snow and ice don’t fall on you. Get a lightweight rake with an extendable handle.
How to Prevent the Build Up of Ice on Your Gutters
Better to be safe than sorry. Instead of waiting until ice clogs your gutters, take action today so you never have to worry about ice damaging your home every winter.
Add Attic Insulation – Properly insulating your attic will stop heat from the living space from seeping into the attic, thus reducing the risk of ice dam formation.
Slope Your Gutters – Make sure your gutters slope down towards the downspout to allow proper drainage.
Clean Your Gutters – Before the snow starts to fly, access your gutter using a ladder and remove leaves, twigs, and other debris that could affect drainage.
Consider Heated Cables – Heated cables are laid on the roof to heat up and melt any standing snow or ice.
Take Care of Your Gutters Before Winter Sets In
Gutters play a vital role in your home’s roofing system. So when the ice starts to form on them, you should be very worried.
Ice buildup on your gutters not only compromises the integrity of your roof but also damages attic insulation, ruins your ceiling, triggers mold growth, and causes paint to peel off.
Prepare your gutters for winter by cleaning and adjusting them, improving attic insulation, and installing de-icing cables.
Do you need help de-icing your gutters? Feel free to speak to a qualified expert. Contact PunchListUSA today!