How to Keep Your Gutters From Freezing This Winter

Winter brings about cold, unforgiving temperatures, heavy snowfall, and ice.  For homeowners, this season demands preparation, as the season’s weather can inflict damage onto exterior areas of the home.  One exterior feature that suffers during long seasons of damaging cold, ice, and snow is your gutter system.

The gutters are essential in redirecting water away from the home and its foundation.  Without a properly functioning gutter system, you could see water damage, foundational and structural issues, mold and mildew, degrading landscaping, and other issues that if not taken care of, could lead to expensive repairs.  Cleaning out and caring for your gutters is a necessary chore that although time-consuming and tedious, does protect your home from these issues.

Gutters in the Winter

During the winter, gutters can freeze.  Water expands, so when temperatures drop, you might see your gutters get backed up with ice and the formation of icicles along the gutter runs.  Gutters filled with ice can’t drain the melting snow on your roof, which is what leads to dangerous ice dams.

Ice dams occur when water refreezes on sections of your roof because the runoff doesn’t have anywhere to drain.  Heavy sections of ice will damage your roof, weighing down the roofing system, causing issues for your shingles, and leading to water damage.

Melting snow that cannot drain through your gutters and be redirected away from your house can end up forming pools of water that collect around your home’s foundation.  This can cause leaks in your basement and if this problem isn’t addressed quickly, foundational issues can arise over time.

How to Prevent Your Gutters from Freezing

Fortunately, you can prevent damage and expensive repairs from occurring with a little prevention.  Here a few steps you can take to stop your gutters from freezing this winter:

Clean Your Gutters

Yes, it’s a tedious chore, but an essential one, nonetheless.  Your gutter system’s purpose is to channel water away from your house as efficiently as possible.  Gutters that are clogged with debris cannot do that.  Clogged gutters are a big reason behind why they freeze during the winter, so making sure they are free and clear of debris is key to preventing this from occurring.

cleaning your gutters for the winter

Make Sure Your Gutters are Sloped

Gutters don’t do their job if their slope is too flat.  Water ends up collecting and sitting in the gutter system, and during the winter, this can mean that the water expands and freezes.  An effective gutter system is sloped so that gravity can do the work in redirecting the water away from the house.  Before the cold weather begins, you’ll want to make sure that your gutter system is correctly sloped.

For Extremely Snowy Weather, Add a Snow Melt

Sometimes, the winter weather can best even the most prepared gutter system.  In regions subject to frequent snowstorms and extreme temperatures, gutter systems may require something more than just a regular cleaning or proper slope to defeat the freezing water.  Consider adding sodium chloride to your gutter runs.  Sodium chloride, like rock salt, will melt ice in the gutters.  Just a sprinkle of sodium chloride will do the trick in preventing freezing, ice issues, and snow from collecting in your gutters.

Remove Snow

For an unexpected snowfall, head outside and start clearing snow from your roof.  Removing snow with a roof rake (an extended rake that can reach the roof to clear snow safely from the ground) will prevent it from melting and later freezing in your gutters.  If there’s a lot of snow that’s collected on your roof, clearing it sooner rather than later will also stop ice dams from forming, which can cause your gutters to freeze and damage to your roof.  Lower pitched roofs tend to suffer from snow buildup the most, so if your roof isn’t very steep, you’ll want to consider removing snow as soon as possible.

Gutter Guards

Installing gutter guards will not just help prevent them from freezing come winter, but they will also assist in keeping out debris, thus keeping your gutters free and clear to drain water.  Some gutter guards include heating elements, designed for regions prone to frigid temperatures, which can help thaw ice and melt snow.

installing gutter guards

Heating Cables

Yes, there is such a thing as a heating cable you can install to melt snow and thaw ice.  By installing a heating cable in your gutter, you can stop them from freezing in the winter.  This is a good option for homeowners who live in areas that see consistently long, snowy, and icy winters.  You don’t need a professional to install a heating cable, either, the project can be done yourself for an effective ice prevent method.  Run them along the length of your gutters as well as through the downspouts to keep the entire gutter system from freezing.

At Feldco, we provide breakthrough design and triple layer protection to keep your roof insulated throughout the year. For a roof replacement, our installers are factory trained, experienced and professional to get the job done correctly. Speak to a product specialist and get a free quote today.

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