We’ve had a mild winter here in Colorado Springs! However, don’t forget about the wet snows that often come in late winter and into spring. Our winter is not over yet, and that means that your gutters could be susceptible to the freezing weather.
Frozen gutters are a huge problem for multiple areas of your home: your roof, your downspouts, your foundation, and the gutters themselves. Any build-up of ice around the tops of your gutters (along your roofline), in and around the elbows of your downspouts, and the mouth of your downspout, can cause serious issues, ranging from ice dams on your roof, to leakage into your basement. That’s why we’ve created a guide to prevent your gutters from freezing and collecting icicles. Here’s some helpful tips that we’ve encountered in our 17 years of experience.
Schedule a Gutter Cleaning
The first and most proactive preventative measure to prevent frozen gutters is getting your gutters cleaned regularly. Debris like twigs, leaves, trash, soot, seeds, gravel, all love to gather inside your gutters. This debris clogs up your gutter, gets in your downspouts, and ultimately prevents water flow. When winter comes around, all that debris that has been collecting in your gutters and downspouts freezes into a thick, hard mulch, that can be impossible to remove without damage to the gutter or spouts. Wet, frozen debris in your spouts can even cause them to split, requiring replacement.
There really is no “best time of year” to clean your gutters. You should let the build-up in them be your guide. If you have put off cleaning your gutters, fear not, weather permitting, we can still clean them, even in winter. Keeping your gutters clean is the most effective way to prevent freezing this season.
DO NOT Install Gutter Covers
This may come as a surprise, as gutter covers are commonly sold by other companies here in the Springs. However, closed gutter covers, hood-styled covers, roof covers, and anything that diverts water away from your gutter actually causes more harm than good, ESPECIALLY in the wintertime. This is because hood-style covers shoot water over the gutters, which is the perfect environment for icicles to form.
This is one of the reasons that we refuse to install hood styled covers. However, if you find your gutter covers are causing you trouble, we can be hired to remove them, as we have done for several of your customers. If you are wanting some sort of gutter cover, we recommend EZ Lock Screen (picture to the left), they cause less icicles than most others, keep out large debris, and are a reasonable price. Learn more about it here:
Outlet and Downspout Size Can Make a BIG Difference
The larger your downspouts, the easier it will be for water to drain properly and prevent freezing. If your downspout is the size of a Dixie cup (the smallest size in the image to the right), it is too small. This is often a money saver for other companies, but it is not in your best interest as a homeowner. These outlets are far inferior, and are NOT used by Costa Gutter. If you notice you have these small, round outlets we may be able to replace them with larger, preferred oval outlets. Even better, consider upsizing your downspouts from the more common 2x3 to superior flowing 3x4 size. Upgrading to a larger size will allow water and debris to flow through them much more effectively, and they are less prone to clogging and freezing.
What NOT to Do
If your gutters do end up freezing, there are a couple things NOT to do. We do not recommend pouring rock salt on/around your gutter system. Though this is a common suggestion, rock salt is harmful for you home. Rock salt itself is corrosive, which means that it will eventually start eating away at your roof, your siding, your gutters, and so much more. The runoff from rock salt, once the water melts, is toxic, and will kill your surrounding grass and plants. If your situation is very serious, and you are left with no other choice, please use rock-salt sparingly.
We also do not recommend trying to break up the ice around your downspouts if it has already formed. Going at your gutters with a pick or a shovel could harm your gutters, and it could cost you more in the long run.
Pouring hot water into your gutters and down your spouts is also not the best idea. While hot water may melt snow and ice it comes in immediate contact with, it can also re-freeze quickly, causing a denser, harder ice damn. Furthermore, hot water that comes into contact with ice cold things can even cause cracks in windows, siding and stucco. It is best to wait until the ice melts, then contact a professional, like Costa Seamless Gutter Service, for suggestions on preventative measures. Before you attempt any repair on your own, please consider safety first!
Frozen Gutters? Call Costa!
If your gutters have frozen in the past, or want to schedule an estimate to upgrade your gutter system, give us a call! Your home’s health is our first priority, and we’d be happy to take a look and see what recommendations would benefit you as a homeowner here in the Springs. Contact us today!