ice in guttersWinter is quickly approaching, and many homeowners are preparing their homes for the icy forces of winter. One of the most common problems during the winter season is ice in gutters, which can cause serious problems such as ice dams, damaged siding, and even water damage. However, understanding the cause of icy gutters is often the key to choosing the right solution. Here’s a quick rundown of the causes of ice in gutters, as well as a quick and easy solutions to protect your home from harm.

Cause Of Ice And Snow In Gutters
Too much ice and snow in your home’s gutters have just one cause: ice dams. Ice dams are thick ridges of solid ice that accumulate on your home’s gutters when the ice and snow on the roof start to melt and slide down. This typically occurs because your home is being heated on the inside, and as the heat rises and melts the ice and snow at the top of your home’s roof, it slowly drains and trickles down to the gutters. In the average home, 38% of heat loss occurs through windows and doors, but many homeowners would be surprised at just how much heat escapes through the attic and crawlspaces as well. If this water freezes before it can be drained away — or if your gutters are already blocked with fallen leaves or other debris — ice dams will form.

Ice dams can cause severe gutter damage if left untreated. They can truly wreak havoc on gutters, loosen shingles, and even cause water damage and leaks inside your home. Water damage can easily lead to a plethora of other issues, including mold problems. Of course, the repeated freezing and thawing that is an inevitable part of winter is no help and only causes further damage.

What Can Homeowners Do?
The first tip to finding a solution is knowing which methods won’t work. In fact, some common remedies will cause more damage. For example, don’t ever try to chip or hack away at the ice covering your home’s gutters — this can hurt the structural integrity of the roofing tiles and makes your home even more suscepible to interior water damage. Rock salt isn’t a viable option either. Instead, a simple solution involves investing in a long-handled aluminum rake to gently pull snow off your roof before ice dams form in the first place. This type of rake is designed for use with roofing and is not harmful to your shingles, as long as it’s equipped with wheels.

In addition, be sure to clean your gutters before the winter arrives. This will ensure that your gutters actually perform their job (draining water safely away from your home’s roof, walls, and foundation) when snow starts to melt.

Ultimately, whether your home has old gutters or new gutters, knowing how to keep them in good condition by preventing ice dams is the key to maximizing their lifespan. If you want to get your gutters ready for winter, then it’s important to contact home improvement contractors or gutter cleaners before the end of fall.