As you prepare your home for the forthcoming winter weather, it’s important to pay some special attention to your gutters. A buildup of snow and ice could potentially damage your gutters, resulting in cracking, clogging and sagging that could quickly become problematic.
Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to protect your gutters for the winter and prevent snow from damaging your gutters. Here’s a quick overview of some of these steps:
- Clean out the gutters: You should make it a point to clean out your gutters before the first snow, but after most of the leaves have fallen. Leaves, twigs and other debris will build up and clog your gutters over time. If you leave the debris in the gutters over the winter, the melting snow and ice won’t have anywhere to flow, meaning it will overflow the gutters and freeze on the ground, creating a potential slipping hazard. In addition, the clogs in the gutters themselves could freeze, weighing down the system and potentially causing it to separate from the fascia. You can avoid these issues by cleaning the gutters thoroughly.
- Trim trees: If you have trees in your area that shed their leaves a little later in the fall, you might have leaves continue to fall into the gutters. You can cut down on potential debris by trimming the tree branches close to the roof. This also protects your roof and gutters, as it helps prevent weighed-down branches from snapping and damaging your home.
- Use de-icing solutions: If you have areas on your roof that often see a buildup of ice dams, you can use a de-icing compound or barrier to melt the ice and snow before it slides down the roof. This will help prevent the formation of ice dams in the gutters. You can purchase various de-icing compounds like calcium chloride and find instructions online for how to best use them for ice dam prevention. By preventing ice dams, you can also prevent issues with broken gutter hinges and gutter sagging.
- Use gutter heat tape: Water can freeze in the gutters during winter, creating some heavy ice dams and potential problems with expansion and cracking. There are products like heat tape and electric heating cables specifically designed for gutters to keep them warm and prevent ice from forming inside of them. Just make sure you follow the proper installation instructions so you can avoid issues with overheating.
- Run water: If you want to be satisfied that your gutters are in good shape before the winter, you can pour a bucket of water through it or run a garden hose, then check for leaks or clogs. If you spot problems that can’t be resolved by cleaning out the gutter, you can then connect with a specialist to come out and inspect your gutter system.
For more information about protecting your gutters for the winter and avoiding the types of serious gutter damage that can be caused by snow and ice buildup, get in touch with the team at Rhino Exteriors.