Take Care of Your Gutter System this Winter with these 4 Tips

In any region with significant snow in the winter, gutters become a concern. Your gutters are designed to protect your home from water runoff. The roof extends to the gables which hang over the edge of the house. The gables drop rainwater and melting snow into the gutters, which ideally carry the water to the downspout and safely to the ground. But what about heavy snow?

Typical gutters are made like cups, long troughs that hold water, leaves, and snow with equal acuity. The fewer leaves in your gutter on the first snow, the less likely you are to get frozen dams. However, snow itself is heavy and does not always melt in a convenient fashion. One of the biggest risks to Greater Richmond, Virginia gutters is snow accumulation. Between ice dams, heavy icicles and built-up snow, it’s common even for well-installed gutters to break away and fall.

How can you protect your gutters from damage due to snow accumulation this winter?

Causes of Snow Accumulation for Gutters

Gutter Debris

Snow can build up on top of your gutters if there are still leaves and dirt in the trough. Debris can prevent the snow from flowing through the gutters or draining the melt-off.

Uneven Melt-Off

Snow accumulated in your Hampton Roads, Virginia gutters may not melt at a functional pace. The snow itself can block melted water and cause refreezing inside the gutter track. Uneven melt-off is typical when temperatures fluctuate and snow freezes in place.

The dangerous thing here is that melting and re-freezing makes snow denser and heavier, increasing the chances of gutter damage.

Ice Dams

Ice dams form when the warm underside of the roof causes snowmelt, snow run-off, and that run-off hits the cold extended gables. The water re-freezes, forming a dam at the edge of the roof. This can become part of gutter damage or the cause of excessive snow accumulation on the gables and gutters. Watch out for winter ice dams on any Hampton Roads, Virginia or Greater Richmond, Virginia home.

How to Protect Your Gutters from Winter Damage

Clean and Mesh-Guard Gutters

Start with clean, guarded gutters. The last thing your Greater Richmond, Virginia gutters need are balls of heavy snow or new tree-supplied debris building up in the trough. Instead, clean out your gutters and consider a mesh guard – the most effective type for snow. This will ensure that nothing can block the troughs but melt-off can still safely find its way to the bottom of your downspout.

Give Gutters a Snow Sweep

If too much snow seems to be building up on your gutters, get out the extending roof broom and gently sweep the excess snow from your gutters and gables. Lightening the load during heavy snowfall – before an even heavier re-freeze – can save your gutters many snow-pounds of durability.

Have Your Roof Maintained

You can also reduce the risk of ice dams by having your roof maintained, insulated, and air-circulated before the next freeze. When your roof isn’t too warm in the center, you’re less likely to get faulty runoff that freezes into a dam at the edges.

Use Heat Tape on the Gables and Gutters

Heat tape – especially smart, self-regulating heat tape – is a great solution for Greater Richmond, Virginia homes. It’s based on plumbing heat tape, which runs a slight heating electrical current over a long space to prevent freezing. The right heat tape application with temperature and moisture sensors to detect when to run can be the perfect way to prevent both ice dams and freezing inside your gutters.

Carefree Buildup-Proof New Gutter Design

You can also try something new that works. A Carefree gutter is designed to accept zero debris, but also catch every drop of water that runs off the gables. With a sloping and smooth-topped design and excellently heavy-duty installation, Carefree Gutter Guards are less likely to build up snow or take damage from a little snow on top. Only melted snow will be able to flow into the clever lipped aperture of the gutter design.

Leaf-Free, Clog-Free, Worry-Free Gutters from Carefree Gutter Guard. Contact us today.

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