Winter weather can be tough on your home, and one of the most common problems is frozen gutters. When water freezes in your gutters, it can cause them to pull away from your roof or crack. In some cases, the weight of the ice can even collapse the gutters entirely. So, what’s the best way to deal with frozen gutters?
In this article, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about frozen gutters, including how to prevent them from forming and what to do if they do freeze. By the time you’re finished reading, you’ll be prepared to deal with frozen gutters like a pro!
Why Do Gutters Freeze
Why do gutters freeze in the first place? There are actually a few different reasons. First, if leaves, limbs, or debris block gutters, water can build up and turn into ice. Second, if snow or sleet builds up on the roof, it can eventually melt and run into the gutters.
Depending on the temperature, the water could freeze before running down the downspouts. Whatever the cause, frozen gutters can be a nuisance. But by understanding why they freeze, you can be better prepared to deal with them when they do.
What Are The Dangers Of Frozen Gutters
When the temperature outside drops, frozen gutters can cause several problems for your home, from water damage to roof damage. Here are some of the dangers you need to be aware of when it comes to frozen gutters.
The Gutters Can Break Away From The Home
Frozen gutters can break away from the fascia board they’re attached to. The weight of the ice and snow can cause the gutters to pull away from the nails or screws holding them in place. If this happens, you’ll need to have them repaired or replaced as soon as possible.
Water Damage in Your Home
When water freezes in your gutters, it can expand and cause the gutters to leak. Water can then run down the inside of your home and seep into any cracks or openings, causing water damage to your walls, ceilings, and floors. In extreme cases, this can even lead to mold growth.
Ice and snow can build up in your gutters and put stress on your shingles and other roofing materials. Over time, this can cause them to crack, warp, or even break completely. In addition, when the ice melts, it can refreeze and expand, causing cracks in your roof.
When gutters are frozen, the water doesn’t drain properly and instead pools on the ground around the foundation of the house. This can lead to serious foundation damage as the water seeps into cracks and weakens the structure.
What To Do When You Have Frozen Gutters
If you’re dealing with frozen gutters, here are some of the best ways to thaw them out.
The Calcium Chloride Stocking Method
The stocking method involves filling old stockings with calcium chloride and tying them off. Then, simply drape them over the frozen section of your gutter and leave them in place until the ice has melted. This method is relatively simple and can be more effective than using salt. Calcium chloride is basically the same compound sprinkled on roads and sidewalks during winter months to melt ice.
Now, for this method to work safely, you must avoid sprinkling the calcium chloride directly to your gutters as it may damage your roof and gutters, especially if they’re aluminum. You may need a lot of it, though, as you need to fill enough stockings to line the gutters around your home. Of course, while this method works, understand that it may take a while.
The Hot Water Method
This method can deliver fast results and is relatively simple to do. First, you’ll need to climb a ladder next to your gutters. Then, pour our hot water along the entire length of the gutter, paying special attention to the opening of the downspout. This method works best for smaller chunks of ice as you may need too much hot water for larger ones, which can be a hassle and time-consuming. For larger ones, consider calling a professional instead.
The Rake Method
First, extend the rake to its full length and then place the teeth of the rake against the ice. Next, push the rake forwards, using steady pressure to break through the ice. Once you have broken through the surface of the ice, pull the rake backward to remove the ice from the gutter. Repeat this process until all of the ice has been removed. Another advantage of using an aluminum rake is that it will not damage your gutters like a metal shovel.
Professionals will have the right equipment and experience to safely and quickly remove the ice. They will also be able to properly identify any potential problems with your gutters, such as cracks or leaks. In addition, they can advise you on how to prevent frozen gutters in the future. While removing the ice yourself may be tempting, it is always best to leave it to the professionals.
What To Avoid When Dealing With Frozen Gutters?
If you find yourself with frozen gutters, there are a few things you should never do in an attempt to thaw them out.
Pouring Salt On The Frozen Gutters
Pouring salt directly on the ice is one of the worst things you can do. The salt will eat away at the metal, causing rust and further damage. In addition, it can also cause staining on your bricks or siding. In addition, the salt can also damage plants and landscaping near your gutters. Even if you’re careful, it’s best to avoid using salt altogether.
Hammering Down The Ice
Hammering down the ice on the gutters and causing serious damage. The force of the blow can break rivets or crack sections of your gutter system, causing leaks or taking them off completely. If you must use a tool to break the ice, opt for a softer option like a putty knife or screwdriver.
Avoid Thawing With A Heat Source
Finally, try to avoid thawing your gutters with a blow dryer or other heat source. A heat source can melt the plastic components of your gutters and cause them to sag or collapse. Plus, it’s a fire hazard. If you want it to thaw out, check whether the weather could warm up in the next day or two and let nature take its course.
How to Prevent Your Gutters From Freezing
As the temperatures start to dip, it’s important to prevent your gutters from freezing. Freezing can not only lead to damage to your gutters but can also lead to leaks in your roof and even flooding in your basement. Here are six tips for preventing your gutters from freezing:
Keep Your Gutters Clean
Keeping your gutters clean is one of the best ways to prevent them from freezing. Leaves, twigs, and other debris can collect in your gutters and block water flow. This blockage can cause water to back up and freeze, eventually leading to a build-up of ice that can damage your gutters or cause them to pull away from your home. To avoid this problem, be sure to clean your gutters regularly.
Use Heat Tape
Another way to prevent your gutters from freezing is to use heat tape. This type of tape is designed to automatically turn on when the temperature drops, providing a steady stream of heat that can keep your gutters clear. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully when installing heat tape, and ensure the tape is rated for outdoor use.
Insulate Your Gutters
Insulating gutters will keep the inside of your gutters warmer and less likely to freeze. You can purchase insulation specifically designed for gutters at most hardware stores.
Invest In Gutter Guards
Gutter guards keep leaves and other debris out of your gutters, making them less likely to freeze over time. Various gutter guard options are available on the market, so be sure to research the type that will work best for your home and climate.
Use A Magnesium Chloride De-icer
Magnesium chloride is a substance that can help to melt ice and snow, making it an ideal choice for preventing frozen gutters. You can purchase magnesium chloride de-icer at most hardware stores or online retailers.
Regularly Remove Snow From Your Roof
Snow can accumulate in your gutters and cause them to freeze over time, so removing it as soon as possible after a storm is important. A roof rake is a tool that can make this task much easier; you can purchase one at most hardware stores or online retailers specializing in home improvement products.
How To Deal With Frozen Downspouts
First, make sure to clean your gutters before the first frost. This will help to prevent any leaves or debris from blocking the flow of water down your spouts. Ensure you clear away any piled snow at the downspout exit when it snows. If water is allowed to back up in the spout, it can freeze and cause damage.
Finally, if you live in an area where temperatures regularly dip below freezing, you may also want to install heating tape on your downspouts. This tape will help to keep the water flowing freely, even in the coldest weather. By taking these simple steps, you can help to protect your downspouts from the winter elements.
1. What is the fastest way to melt ice in gutters?
Hot water may be the fastest way to melt ice in gutters. However, this mostly works if you only have a small amount of ice and require too much hot water for more. However, if you can find a stream of hot water, it’s a fast and effective way to melt ice.
2. What can I put in my gutters to melt ice?
Calcium chloride works well, but you must put it in a stocking or pantyhose to prevent corrosion. You can also sprinkle magnesium chloride de-icer on the gutters more to prevent ice from building up in the first place.
3. How do you melt ice in downspouts?
Hot water is the most efficient method since it’ll run down the spouts. You must climb a ladder to pour down the water, though. If you find this dangerous, consider calling a professional to handle it.
The Ultimate Guide To Dealing With Frozen Gutters
There you have it! These are the best things to do when you have frozen gutters. As you can see, a few different options are available to you. However, we believe the best thing to do is contact a professional gutter cleaning service such as Advantage Pro Services. Our professionals will be able to quickly and efficiently clean your gutters and spouts. Contact us today for a consultation or quote for gutter cleaning services.