One of the most familiar sights in the wintertime is a line of icicles hanging from the gutters of a home. I love to see icicles sparkling in the moonlight, don't you? Though icicles are beautiful to look at, they can also be a sign that an ice dam is forming under your roof. An ice dam is caused by a buildup of ice in your gutters. As the temperature fluctuates, the snow on your roof melts, sending water down to the gutters. The water refreezes inside your gutters, turning the overflow into icicles. An ice dam can work its way beneath the shingles of your home and loosen them. Also, a melting ice dam can leak into a home's attic, causing damage to the insulation. Not surprisingly, the presence of water in your attic can lead to mold growth. So there are plenty of good reasons to prevent icicles from forming in your gutters. I thought I'd use this week's post to suggest some things you can do to prevent icicles from taking up residence in your gutters.
Sweep Away the Snow
One of the easiest ways to prevent the formation of icicles in your gutters is to use a roof rake to pull the fresh snow off of your roof. A roof rake has a long handle that allows you to reach snow that is fairly high up on your roof. Of course, you should make sure you're standing in a safe place on the ground as the snow starts to tumble off of your roof. If any of the excess snow falls on your front walk, make sure to clear it away before it freezes.
Install Heat Cables
Another way to prevent icicles from forming in your gutters is to install heat cables. These cables run on electricity that supplies heat to your gutters. The cable runs through your gutters as well as your downspout. If you want to try this idea, I suggest you install heat cables in your gutters before the first snowfall.
Check the Attic Insulation
Warm air can escape from a home through a poorly insulated attic. The air melts the snow on the roof directly above the attic, causing water to run down to the gutters. Checking the insulation in your attic and filling in any gaps can prevent warm air from disappearing through the attic roof.
Examine the Chimney Flashing
The flashing around a chimney can deteriorate over time. This allows warm air to leak out of a home and melt the snow on the roof. Replacing damaged flashing around a chimney can prevent warm air from leaking out. Of course, you should invite a friend over to hold the ladder as you climb onto your roof. Or if you don't feel confident about climbing a ladder, there are plenty of professionals who can replace damaged chimney flashing.
Remember that taking steps today to prevent icicles from forming in your gutters can save you the hassle and expense of fixing damage created by an ice dam this winter. Thanks for reading. - Alan