If you live in an area with cold winters and heavy precipitation, you'll need to take some precautions to protect your roof and gutters from ice dam formation.
Ice dams can develop in your gutters when snow melts on your roof, flows down to the edges of your roof, and refreezes along roof eaves and in gutters. Ice dams in your gutters can cause cracks in your gutters, leaks in your roof, and the formation of hazardous icicles.
Prevent ice dams in your gutters from causing damage and safety threats at your home this winter with the following tips.
Clean out your gutters
Debris in your gutters can trap the snow and ice that leads to ice dam formation. Before the cold weather hits, clean leaves, branches, and any other debris out of your gutters so that water can freely flow through. Hire professional gutter cleaners for the most thorough cleaning possible.
Have a heating cable installed
Gutter servicing companies can install heated cables in your gutters that will prevent ice dams from forming in your gutters all winter long. A heated cable is a good solution to ice dam formation in gutters for homeowners living in cold climates who have had persistent ice dam problems in previous years.
Make sure your gutters are draining
When gutters are installed, they are tilted downward very slightly to ensure that water will flow to downspouts due to the force of gravity. However, they can shift or move slightly over time and lose this downward tilt.
A gutter that's no longer draining properly will be susceptible to water pooling and ice dam formation. Inspect your gutters with a level to make sure that they are still draining properly so that water will naturally reach your downspouts.
Improve attic insulation
Insufficient attic insulation will make your roof's temperature hotter than the air temperature outside. This will cause snow on your roof to melt and flow down to your eaves, where ice dams can form in your gutters.
Adequate attic insulation will prevent snow and ice from melting and refreezing along the eaves of your roof. Attic insulation is not only important for preventing ice dams from forming, but also for maximizing the energy efficiency of your home
Inspect ventilation features of your attic
Warm air can accumulate in an attic that is not ventilated properly. Warm air needs to be able to escape from your attic to prevent a higher temperature on the surface of your roof.