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How To Thwart Mother Nature and Avoid Gutter Damage This Winter

Winter can be a time of joy and wonder.  The holidays arrive and bring together friends and family for good times and indulgent foods.  People are happier and have a spring in their steps and a carol in their hearts. Even a guy named Scrooge gets in on the merriment.

Mother Nature, on the other hand, has a bee in her bonnet this time of year.  Snow, ice, freezing rain, and frigid temperatures fill her bag of tricks. She loves to pull one or two out of her bag when it will inconvenience us most―on a holiday or when there’s someplace important that we need to be.  Her tricks can wreak havoc and destruction in her path, leaving you with costly cleanup and repairs to your home.

Your gutters bear a much of her wrath but there are ways that you can mitigate Mother Nature’s damage.

Clogged downspouts can cause a lot of damage when things begin to freeze.  The clogs cause water to build up and when it freezes, it can turn into a big tube of ice which is much more difficult to clear than sticks and debris.  Ice in downspouts can cause gutters to split. Water expands when it freezes and if it can’t go anywhere, it’ll push outward, splitting your gutter. Install leaf protection over your gutters before the cold temps arrive to prevent it.

The same thing can happen in your gutters.  The problem with ice in your gutters is that it freezes in your horizontal gutters and can be considerably heavy and cause your gutters to pull away from your house or sag, bend, and break.  Again, hire a professional company to install gutter guards over your gutters before the cold weather hits.

Contrary to popular belief, gutters do not cause ice dams to form.  Ice dams are caused by inadequate or faulty insulation. If your roof isn’t insulated properly, not only are you wasting money on heating costs, but you’re contributing to the formation of ice dams by melting the snow on the roof.  Having gutters does create a bigger overhang which can make the dams larger but the problem began with your poorly-insulated roof. The snow melts on your roof where it is warm underneath. The melted snow runs down the roof and when it reaches your roof’s overhang where there’s no warm roof underneath, it refreezes.  Although gutters may cause larger ice dams if you had no gutters, you’d still have ice dams. Without gutters, you’d have a host of additional problems such as foundation cracks, damage to siding, windows, and doors, and the potential for flooding. It’s better to get to the root of the problem and have your attic properly insulated.

If you have already developed ice dams, carefully remove at least 3-4 feet of snow from the bottom of your roof using a roof rake.  Fill an old nylon stocking with calcium chloride (not rock salt or sodium chloride which will damage your roof), tie the end, and place it vertically on your roof across the dam.  (Don’t do this where there are plants underneath because they will probably be killed or damaged.

It’s important to make sure that your gutters have proper drainage and that the water drains away from your house.  If not, it may puddle and flood and freeze, potentially causing very expensive damage to your foundation.

Icicles may look like a picturesque winter scene hanging from the front of your house but they can be a dangerous problem.  Icicles form when water flows over clogged gutters. Carefully knock them down, if you can, but keeping your gutters and downspouts clear can prevent them from forming in the first place.

The main way to prevent damage to your gutters this winter is to, say it together, “Get leaf protection for your gutters!”

Before, after, or during the autumn leaves falling, have your gutters guards professionally installed.  Not only will a professional technician like those at Gutter Pros do a thorough job installing gutter guards, they will also inspect the integrity of your gutters and look for any cracks or places where snow and ice may cause a problem.

Pull one over on Mother Nature this winter:  Be prepared. Have gutter guards installed on your homes long before Mother Nature is up to her old tricks.  And remember call the pros at GutterPros for all your leaf protection,  copper gutter, and commercial gutter needs. Call us at (314) 656-7195!