We all love a white Christmas- having snowball fights in the street, going sledging down a local hill with friends and family, snow makes winter truly festive. For home owners, though, it can be a bit of a nuisance. Whilst snowfall makes great fun to watch and play in, it also collects in your gutters, forming ice dams. Your home can quickly fall victim to a wealth of problems when your gutters aren’t clear to do their job.
Sleet, snow and icy water will quickly overflow your gutters, finding their way into your home to cause damp patches, and structural damage. Rather than risk your gutters being able to cope through the cold, wet months, learning how to prevent your gutters from freezing is a lot easier and cheaper.
Did you know?
Blocked gutters are to blame for 75% of damaged property siding.
50% of flooded basements are caused by broken gutters.
Water damage and mould growth is largely due to overflowing gutters.
Use hot water
Pour hot water along your gutters to stop the build up of ice and snow. Firstly, make sure there’s no snow on your roof before you use this method as it won’t work, and again cause the gutters to freeze. Take water from a boiled kettle and remember to be careful as you pour it along the gutter, so that it gently streams from the kettle.
If the gutter spout is frozen, you can unclog it by pouring hot water over it to melt the ice. This may take several buckets of water, so it’s best to have family members on hand to boil kettles and pass you the buckets.
A Sprinkling of salt rock
If you’re checking your gutters regularly throughout winter, you’ll notice when ice starts forming in them. By sprinkling rock salt along your gutters, you can help the ice to melt and prevent them from freezing.
Even when there isn’t snow forecast, it’s a good idea to regularly sprinkle salt, as temperatures regularly drop to below freezing in the night time.
Remove any snow
As soon as it’s stopped snowing, pick up your ladder and get set to removing the snow from your gutters. This is an effective way to prevent it from melting and then refreezing to form ice dams. It’s an unpleasant job, especially when you could be spending time indoors with the family, but it’s for the good of the house and your pocket.
You may want to consider installing heated cables along the length and breadth of your gutters. The heat from them will cause snow and ice to melt and flow through the gutters with no problem. They’re an investment to consider if you don’t want to get up on your ladder.
A warm attic will help to melt ice and snow during winter, so it makes sense to insulate the ceiling and floor. If your attic is already insulated, now is the time to carefully inspect it for any leaks. If your insulation is worn, wet or leaking, it’s time to replace it.
Getting your gutters professionally cleaned in the autumn is the best way to prevent your gutters from freezing and causing problems in winter. Gutter maintenance from trained professionals can even be arranged in the winter, due to the specialist tools needed to safely remove ice dams. This way, you can stay warm and dry inside, rather than in the cold winter weather.