If you’re bundling up in a warm coat and a scarf, that means frozen weather is right around the corner here in the Twin Cities metro area. In the northern section of our great nation, frozen winter weather is a fact of life, and this year is going to be an especially cold one.
While snow and ice are beautiful, it can create problems for your home, especially when it comes to your gutter system. Thankfully, all of these problems are easily resolved if you address them early to prevent as much damage as possible. At The Construction Group in Woodbury, we offer ice dam removal services and storm damage inspections to help protect your home.
In this blog entry, our professional ice dam removal team talks about what happens when gutters freeze and how we can help you deal with any damage they might cause.
So Your Rain Gutter Is Frozen?
Frozen gutters can be caused by a blockage that causes water to build up and turn into ice, which then prevents the gutters from doing their job. Results from this cause many problems, which include damaged gutters, eaves, and roofing.
The backup can accumulate in areas where trees drop leaves, berries, or seeds, which will build up and clog gutters over time. When it rains, the buildup can turn into ice in freezing temperatures, which in turn will prevent the gutter from allowing water to flow and drain properly.
Another way the gutter can freeze is due merely to heavy snow build up. Gutters with clogged ice will allow ice dams to form.
What Causes Ice Dams to Form
An ice dam forms due to the process of water melting and refreezing on your roof. Typically, your home will end up with lots of winter precipitation like snow or ice on your roof. But the heat from your attic can eventually cause the precipitation to melt, which means water will begin to flow into your gutter system.
Once it reaches your eaves or gutter system, that water can end up freezing again, and water will not be able to continue draining. This can reroute water to your roof, where it can cause serious damage.
This process can end up causing problems with your siding, roof, and foundation.
How Water Affects Your Home
When standing water has nowhere to go on your roof, it can end up soaking underneath your roofing shingles and running through your attic.
These are just a sampling of the types of damage that frozen rain gutters can cause.
Mold is one of the worst problems that homeowners may have to face. Any amount of moisture inside your home creates a welcome breeding ground for mold growth. And once mold starts to take root in your home, it can damage your walls, furnishings, carpet, and anything else it touches.
Worse, mold can frequently lead to serious health problems from minor respiratory issues to severe neurological issues. And mold remediation can be extremely costly.
Attic insulation doesn’t do well when it’s exposed to water, especially if the exposure occurs over a long period of time. Like almost everything else in your home, insulation is extremely vulnerable to mold growth.
But it can also easily lose its insulating properties once it becomes wet. If your insulation has become wet, you should have it replaced as soon as possible.
The underlayment and structural materials beneath your roof can become susceptible to rot once the wood is exposed to water. Any wood structure that begins to rot is no longer structurally sound and represents a serious safety hazard, especially when exposed to strong winds or winter weather.
If you suspect your roof has become wet underneath the shingles, it’s important to schedule a thorough roof inspection with a roof repair contractor at The Construction Group.
Frozen rain gutters are vulnerable to damage. The material isn’t built to withstand the expansion and contraction your gutters are exposed to when they freeze, and the joints and seams are especially vulnerable.
The material also becomes more susceptible to rust as water backs up above the frozen gutter.
Once water from your roof gets inside your home, it can lead to a number of problems. Inside your home, this moisture can cause your walls and ceiling to become stained or lead to sheetrock damage.
The longer standing water sits on your roof, the more likely you are to end up with costly damage.
There’s a reason rain gutters drain away from your home rather than directly down to the ground. That’s because draining down near the foundation can actually cause structural damage to the concrete. As the earth around your foundation becomes wet, this leads to cracking and weakening in the foundation that can cause your home to settle.
Over time, the cumulative effect of this premature settling will be visible in doors that don’t close, warped flooring, and cracks in the walls.
Look for these signs that you’ve got frozen rain gutter problems:
● Icicles on your roof
● Stains on your siding
● Damaged gutter joints
● Water leaking through the ceiling
● Water pooling on the ground around your home
Keep Your Gutters From Freezing
Preventive measures are always the key to being proactive before the harsh seasons. Take note of these few tips for help preventing your gutters from freezing in the first place. Better yet, contact us at The Construction Group for safe and professional remedies for frozen gutters and ice dams.
Check the Slope
The rain gutter slope has to be correct to allow water to drain to your downspout. Adjust the slope as needed before winter sets in. Use a level to help you find the correct slope.
Keep Gutters Clean
Sometime in the fall, you should clean your gutters of leaves and any other debris that may have landed in there. Put on proper safety equipment such as work gloves, a long sleeve shirt, pants, and non-slip shoes.
Use a stable four-legged ladder, and with the assistance from another adult standing by, take a small trowel or a gutter cleaning tool and a bucket up the ladder with you. Ideally the ladder will have a paint-can shelf where the bucket can stand or even a hook to hang the bucket, so the debris from the gutters can be shoveled right into the bucket.
You should not attempt to climb beyond 10-15 feet yourself – it’s best to hire a professional.
Add Sodium Chloride (rock salt)
A sprinkling of sodium chloride can nip gutter ice problems in the bud if you notice icicles beginning to form. This also works for preventing ice dams.
Try Heated Cables
If you still get ice in gutters despite everything, purchase a heated cable designed for gutters and rooftops. Stringing this along the top of your gutter will help melt the ice so that the remaining water will drain away from your home. Again, this method is sometimes used to get rid of ice dams.
Remove Snow Safely
Investing in a telescoping roof rake to clear snow from eaves and gutters quickly can be a useful tool just to clear out the excess snow–and again, only do this if you have a friend or relative with you with safety in mind.
Ice Dam Removal
Although ice dams can cause many problems if you don’t address them, they can be easily removed by a professional home contractor. Engineers use a special tool to clear gutters. We employ an insulated heating core specifically designed to melt your frozen gutters. It works similarly to an electric blanket, but instead of keeping you warm and cozy, it clears gutters.
Once your gutter is thawed, a preventative salt application can be used to make sure your gutters continue to flow as they were intended to.
Contact Our Twin Cities Gutter Experts Today!
If you’re concerned about frozen gutters, we can help. Our professional rain gutter repair team can also help you assess the functionality of your current gutter system and address any damage elements that need to be replaced.
We also offer complete storm damage repair services for when those winter storms hit this year. Connect with our gutter contractor team at The Construction Group at 651-731-5857 or contact us for a free quote.
To get a free quote on steel siding replacement services, contact The Construction Group in Woodbury today at 651-731-5857. Or contact us on the web to discuss siding solutions for your home.