Carefree Gutter Guard
701 Industry Drive Hampton VA 23661 757-690-2641
Carefree Gutter Guard
4944 Millridge Parkway E Midlothian VA 23112 804-709-3760

No Cleaning, No Clogging, No Worries: Three Benefits Our Gutters Bring to Hampton Roads & Greater Richmond!

Do Heated Gutter Guards Really Work?

Large Ice Dam on a Home's Roof | Carefree Gutter Guard

It’s already October, so the likelihood of snow is increasing each day we get closer to winter. Old Man Winter will arrive in a matter of days—luckily in the double digits—and the weather will surely change from beautiful fall temperatures to cold and winter precipitation before we know it.

Wintertime here in Greater Richmond and Hampton Roads is cold, with daytime lows hovering around freezing. While we don’t get a lot of snowfall and other winter precipitation often, we do get some during the winter months. Many homeowners contemplate whether or not they should install heated gutter guards to prevent ice dams and excess snow inside the gutters.

If you’ve wondered the same, continue reading to learn if heated gutter guards really work, as well as some advantages and disadvantages so you can decide if installing them is right for your home.

Before we discuss what heated gutter guards are, let’s first discuss what ice dams are.

What are Ice Dams?

Snow accumulation inside of a gutter can be dangerous if the gutter system doesn’t have proper drainage or the inside of the gutter isn’t covered. Ice dams are a common occurrence in areas that experience winter weather, like Hampton Roads and the Greater Richmond area. 

If you’re unfamiliar with ice dams, they’re thick pieces of ice that collect around the edges of sloped roofs. Ice dams form as a result of heat from inside a house escaping, thus, melting the accumulated snow on a roof. As a result, meltwater has nowhere to drain, so it constantly freezes, melts, and refreezes, resulting in ice dams.

Ice dams are not only a nuisance for homeowners to deal with, but they can cause costly damage to the home and injuries. Ice dams are heavy, and if they fall from the roofline, then they could seriously injure a loved one if they’re nearby.

What Are Heated Gutter Guards?

Heated gutter guards often have a cable or other component that can heat up and melt snow and ice that collects inside a gutter system. Heated Gutter Guards were designed to melt snow and ice rather quickly to ensure icicles and ice dams don’t occur. 

Ideally, heated gutter guards would melt snow and other freezing precipitation so water can drain through the gutters and into the downspouts, never allowing meltwater to freeze and refreeze and avoid forming ice dams.

Do Heated Gutter Guards Really Work?

If heated gutter guard systems worked properly, there would be some pros to installing one. For one, it would melt all freezing precipitation and accumulated snow inside the gutter, preventing ice dams from forming. Next, they would clear the inside of the half-round gutter system, which can become weighed down by heavy snow in the winter. 

So, do heated gutter guards really work? In theory, heated gutter guards sound great. Unfortunately, they aren’t that effective at preventing ice dams. Why? They can exacerbate the melting and refreezing cycle of snow and ice inside the gutter, possibly resulting in even more ice dams. The heated cable of a heated gutter guard can melt the section it’s placed directly over, however, ice and snow in surrounding areas will still form. 

Heated gutter guards will also increase your energy bills since electricity is required to turn on the heat. You could see quite an increase if we experience a higher-than-average amount of winter precipitation.

Are There Other Solutions?

While installing heated gutter guards may not be the right choice for you, there are some preventative measures you can take to reduce and help prevent ice dams this winter. For one, you’ll want to figure out the source of the heat escape issue. Ice dams form when heat from inside a house melts the accumulated snow on a roof, so the issue lies within the home. Perhaps there isn’t adequate insulation in the attic. If you’re unsure, a great place to start is to contact an insulation company to examine your current insulation and provide an estimate for fixing it.

Next, you’ll want to ensure that your half-round gutters are clean and free of debris going into the winter season. Less debris means meltwater can flow freely throughout the gutter system, aiding in preventing ice dams. The effects of clogged gutters can be felt year-round, so it’s best to clean your gutters often.

Rather than install heated gutter guards, opt for a complete gutter system like the K-Guard System. K-Guard is a full system with a curved hood that keeps debris out, only allowing water to enter through a narrow drainage channel. No debris means no chance for clogs, so water can flow freely throughout the gutter system at a rapid pace, helping to avoid disasters like ice dams. Besides preventing ice dams, K-Guard has other benefits like requiring zero maintenance, adding curb appeal, and offering the durability of lasting for the life of the home. 

There are many gutter systems available, although only one is durable and efficient enough to last. Make the switch to K-Guard today to better protect your home from drainage issues and ice dams – contact Carefree Gutter Guard today for a free estimate!