Old Man Winter has made his arrival which means we’ve officially entered the cold season here in Hampton Roads and Greater Richmond. Though we don’t get nearly as much snow as other parts of the country, we get around 5 inches per year. While that may not sound like much, we do get on average more precipitation than the country’s average, a little over 45 inches per year. During the winter months, we often have rainy days mixed with sleet which can be just as much of a nuisance as snow.
Winter weather can wreak havoc on the exterior of our homes, especially our gutter system. Because it’s responsible for collecting and carrying away meltwater and stormwater, it’s constantly working to keep our homes protected from drainage issues. One of the most destructive winter conditions that can form on a gutter system is an ice dam. Keep reading to learn about ice dams and gutter damage and how to prevent them.
What Are Ice Dams?
Ice dams are incredibly common in Virginia and other climates where there is winter precipitation and fluctuating temperatures. If you’re unfamiliar with ice dams, they’re thick pieces of ice that form inside a gutter and hang over the side of a house.
Ice dams form when heat produced from inside a home escapes, melting snow or winter precipitation that has collected inside a gutter. That meltwater will freeze as temperatures hover around or dip below freezing and melt again from heat escaping the home or when temperatures increase. It’s a neverending cycle during the winter months that produces thick pieces of ice inside your gutter system.
What Damage Can Ice Dams Cause?
Not only are they unsightly, but ice dams can cause damage and injuries. Ice dams create a blockage inside the gutter system, forcing excess meltwater or stormwater to flow over the side of the gutters or collect inside the gutter, forcing water to remain on the roof or seep into the shingles. Water that’s left to sit inside a gutter system can also cause interior leaks, leading to water damage.
In addition to causing roof damage, ice dams can cause the gutters to pull away from the home due to adding excess weight, causing damage to the gutters, soffit and fascia boards, the home’s siding, and more. Ice dams can also cause injuries if they break off while a loved one is near. The last thing you want is for anyone to get hurt due to an ice dam that fell from the gutter system.
How Can I Prevent Ice Dams?
Ice dams are dangerous, threatening the safety of your loved ones and possibly causing extreme damage to your home’s exterior. You’re probably wondering if you can prevent ice dams from forming this winter. Luckily, there are some measures you can take to help your current gutter system stay protected as well as a solution to prevent them.
First, to help lessen the effects of ice dams, keep your half-round gutter system clean. It’s best to clean your gutters often, but cleaning them after fall to remove leaves is ideal to prep them for the winter months. Removing debris like leaves, pine needles, and silt will keep them clear, helping water to flow more freely throughout the system. Clogged gutters are more likely to form ice dams due to impeding water flow.
Next, contact an insulation company to assess the insulation in your attic. Ice dams may be forming due to excess heat loss from the attic, a result of poor insulation. More heat that’s able to escape means the likelihood of ice dams is pretty high. An insulation company can help fix the problem to help prevent ice dams from forming.
Another step you can take to help prevent ice dams is to remove snow from your gutters. Clearing snow from the inside of half-round gutters will prevent that snow from melting and refreezing, creating ice dams. Climbing a ladder in the snow and freezing weather doesn’t sound fun, so you may want to consider hiring a professional to remove ice dams or excess snow from your gutters.
Install K-Guard to Prevent Ice Dams
While you can take some measures to help prevent ice dams from forming inside your half-round gutter system, they’re temporary solutions that often need to be repeated to keep ice dams at a minimum. A permanent solution to preventing ice dams is to install the K-Guard Leaf Free Gutter System.
K-Guard is a complete system with a curved hood that blocks all debris, snow, and sleet from entering the gutter system, unlike traditional gutter systems. Only meltwater or stormwater can enter the gutter system, not snow or sleet which causes ice dams to form. Snow can slide off our curved hood, never allowing it to collect on top of it.
The K-Guard System from Carefree Gutter Guard is the perfect solution for homeowners in Hampton Roads and Greater Richmond. Our gutter product requires no cleaning because it keeps all debris out, only allowing water to enter the gutter system. 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!