Keeping Gutters Free of Ice

Ice in your gutters can be dangerous for you and your home. Ice dams form when snow fills your gutter and freezes into a solid “wall” of ice that fills the gutter and overhangs from the edge of the roof. It's dangerous for your roof, because water from melting snow has nowhere to go, and it could wind up working its way inside your home, damaging the structure and anything inside. Here are some tips to help keep your gutters free of ice, so your home won't get damaged.

Stop ice dams from forming

The best way to deal with ice dams is to not have them at all. Since they are caused by warm air from the attic melting the snow, and cold air outside the home causing it to refreeze, you need to stop the cycle. Make sure that the floor of your attic is well-insulated to keep warm air from rising into it from your home below. A cold attic will help prevent the snow from melting, and reforming as ice.

It's also a good idea to rake your roof clear of snow after a heavy snowfall. The less snow there is on your roof, the less chance that it will form an ice dam.

Removing an ice dam

Removing an ice dam takes finesse, because just forcing it off of your roof could damage the shingles or gutter. Instead, rake as much loose snow off of the roof as you can, then apply a de-icing compound. Rock salt can also be used, but you'll need to use a ladder to apply it, which can be dangerous if the ground is icy.

Avoid the temptation to hack away at the ice with a blunt instrument, as this could cause more harm than help.

Keep your gutters clear, your roof properly insulated, and your downspouts free from debris, and you could avoid getting ice dams altogether.

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