With heavy snow fall and record low temperatures this winter, it is important to keep your gutters from freezing. Frozen gutters means water will not divert where it is supposed to and end up freezing on the edge of your roof creating ice dams and potential water damage inside your house.
The installation of an ice melt system will alleviate this problem. The ice melt system is installed on the edge of your roof and up valleys and other places where ice damming is likely to occur. The panels are self-regulated and will heat up above freezing to prevent damming from occurring. Heating cables are also typically installed up the downspout to keep water from freezing. These systems are not for everyone. They are the most efficient and attractive solution, but also very expensive.
A temporary solution is the use of a steamer to remove ice dams. A steamer takes water and heats it above 250 degrees. The steam is forced through a hose where a low pressure stream is used to cut through ice dams allowing water underneath to flow freely. We do not recommend allowing a contractor to use a high temperature pressure wash because it may cause damage to your shingles and the damage will not be covered under any existing warranty.
Ice dams are caused when melting snow refreezes at the edge of your roof and creates an ice dam preventing water from flowing into your gutter. Ice dams are directly correlated with the adequate ventilation and insulation of your house. Inadequate ventilation or insulation allow heat to escape from your attic melting snow from on top of your roof. Installing a proper ventilation system of both intake and outtake vents ensures the proper release of warm air during the winter months. The IECC also recommends an attic R-value of 38.
The use of a snow rake/snow cutter or shovel to remove snow is a great way to prevent ice dams and gutter freezing from occurring by removing the snow before refreezing becomes an issue. Watch a video here.
Ensuring your gutters are clear of debris before winter is essential to ensure blockage and freezing do not occur. If prefer not to clear gutters every fall, there are plenty of products that keep debris out of your gutter. One such product is the Gutter Shutter.