Today we’re going to talk about gutter protection during the winter. Whether it’s on the way or already here, the months of colder temperatures can do more damage to your gutters than in any other season. The reason? It’s the period of time when all of the elements come together. For instance:
- Heavy snows accumulate in the gutters to increase the weight on the hangers
- Strong winds pound against the system to further loosen screws and other fasteners
- Fluctuations in sunlight and temperatures cause a thaw-freeze process
- Ice dams are created due to accumulated precipitation and debris that remain in the gutters
- Freezing rain and drizzle block other precipitation, even if a gutter guard is in place
- Heat loss from roofs can cause the creation of icicles
The Potential Damage
If any or all of these events take place, then the potential for damage increases. For instance, when an ice dam is created it backs up fresh water. This results in the liquid splashing back under the eaves, soffit, and fascia. In turn, inside walls and ceilings are damaged as they would be in any other season.
In another example, the weight of the accumulated precipitation weakens the gutters’ hangers to the point they collapse. Here, parts of the roof and siding come down along with the system. The end scenario is a large investment to not only set up a new gutter system but also make repairs on the home’s exterior.
Avoiding These Consequences
Of course, these are the worse-case examples, because there are ways to keep your gutters from freezing. It just needs to be done when the weather is warmer. Here are five things you can do to minimize your winter risks.
Properly Slope the Gutters
Out of all the suggestions, this needs to be done at the time of the system’s installation. When gutters are properly sloped, they allow precipitation to easily drain through the system to the downspout. Should they be installed flat, then the water simply sits there and, in turn, freezes.
At this point, fresh precipitation falls on the layer of ice to increase its weight. Eventually, if enough liquid freezes in the gutters without anywhere to go, two things happen. First, an ice dam is created. Second, the weight of the frozen water breaks the gutter system.
If your gutters were installed flat, then maybe it’s time to call K-Guard for a free estimate on replacement, as any repair may be cost prohibitive.
Keep the Gutters Clean
This is simple with a K-Guard leaf free gutter system, because the only thing that gets in is water. For other systems that don’t have the same protection it’s best to get a professional to check them out. While you might not believe any debris exist, a detailed examination can discover hidden pockets. Even a small amount of debris causes the creation of ice dams.
Clean Your Roof
A big snowstorm or wind-created snow drifts make it incredibly difficult to keep what’s in the gutters from freezing up. To minimize further precipitation accumulation as well as risk of system damage, use a roof rake. This small shovel with an extendable handle helps remove as much snow as possible from the shingles. However, don’t take this action until weather conditions calm.
Add Heated Gutter Cables
Designed for rooftops and gutters, the heated cable keeps these areas warm to quickly melt snow and ice into water. In turn, this flows quickly through the downspouts to prevent frozen blocks.
Roof eaves that are properly insulated help protect from heat escaping the roof near the roof gutter edges. Excessive heat loss can be the leading cause to icicles or ice damns.
If you’re uncomfortable maintaining your gutters during the winter, call us at 913-229-7550 to book a free estimate.