Winter storms have arrived and may already have started to wreak havoc on your homes gutter system.
Heavy snow and ice put extra weight on the gutters and cause them to start to break away from the outside wall. By far, ice dams are the biggest threat and often make replacing the gutters in the spring a necessity.
How Ice Dams Develop
After a heavy snowstorm, the snow that has accumulated on your roof will begin to melt. Because of the heat generating from your home, this snow melts from the bottom up. The top layer of snow may still remain frozen while the water from the bottom layer starts to migrate into the gutters. If the temperature is still below freezing, then a block of ice will develop instead of the water draining down to the downspouts. The gutters and downspouts are now sealed with ice. This is referred to as an ice dam.
As the temperatures fluctuate, the ice contracts and expands causing damage to the gutters. Once the huge block of ice does begin to finally thaw, the excess water it suddenly produces will seep under the shingles and eventually to the supporting plywood. Since the downspouts usually thaw last, there is no place for the water to go but into your home. The homes roof, fascia, and soffits may all be damaged. Even gutters that are installed properly can succumb to the weight of the ice and snow produced after a major Missouri snowstorm. They can break off of the side of your house or become so damaged that their functionality is compromised.
Preparing the Gutters For Winter
There are a few ways that you can properly prepare your gutters for harsh winter weather. The first is to have them cleaned before the season starts by a professional gutter company. Some homeowners do insist on cleaning out the debris themselves, but with a professional you have the added benefit of a trained eye who will notice and repair any existing problems with the system.
If you are near a heavily wooded area where stray leaves are a constant problem, then you may benefit by installing a gutter guard over the troughs. These will prevent more debris accumulation after the cleaning has been completed. Gutter guards are installed with sturdy bracketing giving the entire system more strength against the weight of a heavy snowstorm.
Improper Insulation May Be a Problem
If ice dams are a consistent problem with your home, you may need to take a look at your roof and the insulation. It could be that improper insulation is allowing an excessive amount of heat to escape from your home causing the snow to melt at an accelerated rate. A few rolls of insulation properly installed could not only save you money on heating bills, they could also increase the life span of your gutters.
Ice dams may not just cause problems with your gutters, they could also affect the homes walls, roof, and foundation. Scott-Lee Guttering Company can do an inspection of your home to help you identify the problem areas and fix them before the next snowfall hits.
Call Scott-Lee Guttering Company at (314) 756-9440.
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