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Winter Threats to A Gutter System

A home goes through a lot during the winter months and requires maintenance to avoid any unnecessary costly repairs down the road. Often times, homeowners neglect to maintain their gutter system, especially during the winter months. It is very important to factor in the damage that could happen to a home’s gutters when the snow and freezing temperatures during winter become an issue.

Three potential problems that may occur during the winter months are ice build-up (ice dams), clogged downspouts and excessive snow loads. By identifying these common issues, a homeowner may take preventative measures and reach out to a professional to ensure that these problems do not cause damage to the home.

Ice Dams

An Ice Dam is a build-up of ice in the gutter system resulting from snow melting and re-freezing over time. Without proper maintenance, this can cause extra weight inside the drainage system, allowing for multiple long-term issues. If the ice dam is not cleared, it can cause the roof to leak, leading to potential mold and electrical failures – an additional expense that could have easily been avoided.

A common mistake that homeowner’s make is to try to clean the build-up of ice while it is still frozen – it is more beneficial to wait until it is no longer frozen to prevent the gutter from cracking or breaking. Also, extra weight from ice can cause the gutters to warp and crack, causing for additional problems in the future.

Clogged Downspout

Winter weather can also cause a home’s downspout’s to clog. The main reason for a downspout is to allow water to flow down from the roof to the ground – allowing the water to flow away from the home. With a clog, the drainage system will be unable to drain the water from the roof, allowing for water to remain at the top of the home and over time can weaken the tiles and cause a leak within the roof. Clogs can occur at any time of year so it is important to clean the gutters of any debris to prevent further damage.

Excessive Snow Load

Excessive amounts of snow and ice can be a risk for homeowner’s. The materials used in the making of a gutter system are made to be strong and lightweight at the same time; however, snow and ice build-up can still cause damage. The weight and the increased amount of pressure added to the gutters can cause them to collapse and break resulting in costly repairs.

To avoid any of these winter issues, it is necessary to maintain the gutter system throughout the year to prevent any buildup of leaves or other types of debris. This can ensure that during the winter months, the gutter system will function properly and will hopefully avoid the need for emergent and costly repairs.

If you are concerned that your home is at risk for any of these winter issues, it may be beneficial to speak with a professional to determine a plan of prevention and help work through these issues.