The health of your roof is directly related to the state of your gutters. Winter is one of the times that your gutters will experience the most stress. Knowing how to keep your gutters free of ice dams and resolve winter issues if they occur will help you to maintain the health of your roof.
Ice In Your Gutter
When ice accumulates in your gutter, it's bad news. The water and ice can leak into your home and cause water damage and mold. Thankfully, you can help to prevent ice buildup by removing the debris from your gutters.
The number one way to keep ice out of your gutters is to remove debris in the fall. To simplify this task, check the junctions of your gutters where the debris are most likely to gather. You also want to clear your downspouts so that water has a place to flow. The absence of debris will keep the water flowing smoothly through your gutters and will minimize the ice's ability to accumulate.
Clearing Ice Dams
Ice dams form when the roof of your home becomes warm. The heat warms the ice and snow on your roof, and it glides down into your gutters. Your gutters don't hold the same heat as your roof, and the water will refreeze. This refreezing cycle is what fills your gutters and forms dams. The ice and snow continue to melt on your roof, only now with the dam, the water will go beneath your shingles and into your home.
If ice dams become a problem for your gutter system, there are special heated cables that can be installed in your gutter system. These cables keep the water in your gutters a stable temperature and are controllable with a thermostat. You may need your roofing contractor to install them for you if you don't feel comfortable doing it yourself.
Preventing Water Damage
If you come across ice dams in your gutters, you should take special note of their location. You can use the dam's location to examine the inside of your home for signs of water damage. If you can catch the damage early, you can prevent mold and advanced damage from taking hold of your home.
In most cases, a diligent gutter maintenance schedule will help keep your home moisture free. However, sometimes even with your best attempts at maintenance ice build-ups and dams may occur. You may need a roofing contractor to look at your gutter systems to determine if a different setup may be more beneficial for your home.
Contact local roofing contractors for more information and assistance.