Stay Cool! Cleaning Your Frozen Gutters Is a Must
Long Island homeowners are no strangers to frigid weather that sometimes batters homes leaving mounds of snow on roofs and frozen ice in gutters. If this happens, you may ask "Do I need to clean my frozen gutters?" Or should you just leave the ice to melt on its own?
As pretty as frozen ice in gutters forming ice dams or icicles may look, this is a potentially hazardous condition. Therefore, in many cases, steps should be taken quickly to remove the ice and restore proper drainage. Let's explore why gutters freeze, the dangers of this icy situation, cleaning frozen gutters, and how to prevent frozen gutters.
Why Do My Gutters Freeze During Winter?
A gutter system allows rainwater and water from melted snow and ice to run off from the roof into the gutters and away from the property. During winter, rock-solid ice or ice dams can form in gutters due to standing water present at the time of frigid temperatures. Backlogged water stems from poor drainage in the gutter system usually caused by improper pitch or blockage from debris such as leaves, twigs, acorns, bird's nest, and other foreign objects.
Two things may then happen. The water will freeze or the snow and ice can melt and then refreeze if the water cannot flow out through the downspouts. Poor attic insulation and insufficient ventilation are typically the main causes for ice accumulating on the roof. Having no room to drain, water from melted snow on the roof will run over the gutter lips and may form icicles in subfreezing temperatures. All of this increases the risk of property damage and costly repairs.
What Happens When Ice Dams Form in Gutters?
When your gutters freeze over this can cause a chilling domino effect. Some common problems are:
Backed up ice will add significant weight to the gutters and cause them to sag, leak, or break. For example, gutter hangers may come loose in one or more sections along the gutter system due to the weight of the ice dams and icicles. Hanging gutters may eventually break and fall off and even damage the fascia board in the process. We have seen cases where falling gutters have damaged windows and cars.
Frozen gutters can ruin your roof in the winter. This could happen during freeze and thaw cycles where water melts and refreezes causing ice to remain on the roof for extended periods of time. The weight from accumulated ice and snow may cause shingles to shift and allow water to seep into and underneath the shingles and that can lead to structural damage.
Water from frozen gutters and downspouts can leak into the home, e.g, in the attic, and cause damage to the ceilings, walls, insulation, rugs, carpets, or furniture. Moisture stains may appear on walls or drywall and plaster may crack. Water spilling over the gutter lips can flow or seep into the basement causing property damage or eventually weaken the structure's foundation.
Insect and Mold Infestation
Moisture in the attic or basement ceilings and walls is known to attract insects and mold. Insects feast on wood and destroy it in the process. Toxic mold, e.g., black mold, can easily form in moist, dark environments where there is poor ventilation such as in the attic or basement. Besides being a health hazard, black mold destroys ceilings, fascia boards, walls, insulation, rugs, carpet, and furniture if not promptly removed.
How to Prevent Frozen Gutters?
The best way to prevent frozen gutters is to stop ice dams from forming in the first place. These preventative steps may be helpful but are best undertaken by a combination of roofing, insulation and gutter professionals:
Clean Your Gutters Regularly
Routine gutter cleaning and maintenance throughout the year and especially before winter helps prevent ice damming. Cleaning could be required several times a year depending on several factors. For example, your gutters and downspouts may need cleaning more often if your home is surrounded by trees and foliage that persistently shed leaves, twigs, and other tree debris.
Insulate and Ventilate
Another tip on how to prevent frozen gutters is proper insulation and ventilation. Properly insulating and ventilating your home, and in particular the attic, can effectively prevent ice dams on roofs and in gutters. Warm temperatures beneath the roof help to melt snow and ice that accumulate on the rooftop and allow the water to run off instead of refreezing into solid ice blocks.
Installing gutter protection provides an additional layer of protection that can prevent frozen gutters. Gutter protection helps keep debris out of gutters to promote the free flow of water and lowers the chance of ice formation.
Do I Need to Clean My Frozen Gutters?
The short answer to that question is, YES! This icy situation is dangerous and can get worse if more snow and ice continue to accumulate. But stay cool, you don't have to risk hurting yourself by climbing to the rooftop to access and clean the gutters. Instead, you can rely on professional gutter cleaners to quickly remedy this problem saving you time and the hassle and risks of a DIY disaster.
Contact Ned Stevens Gutter Cleaning of Long Island
Cleaning frozen gutters is a task that should be left to the experts in gutter cleaning. The professionals at Ned Stevens Gutter Cleaning of Long Island can handle all the work of cleaning partially to solid ice frozen gutters at your home. We are a licensed Long Island gutter cleaning company that services Long Island, Suffolk County, and Nassau County.
Give us a call today 631-582-0142 or complete our online contact form to request your free quote today.