When the winter arrives in Minneapolis, MN, you can expect your gutters and downspouts to freeze. Heavy icicles will hang precariously from your roof after a cold snap or heavy snowfall. The weight of the icicles and ice dams can sag the gutter system and eventually bring it down.
Why Do My Gutters and Downspouts Freeze?
Before we look at how to stop frozen gutters and downspouts, it’s essential to understand why your roofing drainage is freezing in the first place. Snowfall is one reason. Your gutters and downspouts also freeze when water collects on the gutters due to a blockage.
Leaves and debris buildup are the biggest culprits. If this water collects on the elbows of the downspouts and stays overnight, it will re-freeze. Some homeowners chop down the ice using axes or hammers. We don’t advocate for this approach, as you could end up doing a lot more damage than good. You can strike the shingles and dislodge them or destroy the fascia.
Let’s look at smart ways of stopping ice buildup and water backing up on your roof this winter.
Ensure Gutters Slope Properly
Gutters need to slope to allow water to drain to the downspout and away from your home. If your gutters are flat, water will sit and not flow. Come evening, when temperatures are low, and this water will re-freeze and form ice. Be sure to check the gutters and adjust their slope before the winter sets in. You will prevent iced gutters, which are responsible for poor drainage.
Use Heated Gutter Cables
To eliminate ice that still lingers on the gutters, buy a heated cable and string it along the top of the gutters. Its gentle heat will melt the ice, which will flow down the downspouts and away from your home.
Thawing out gutters is both expensive and temporary. Hot water application or steam system may clear the ice, but not for long. Within days, the same spot will freeze again. To stop future ice buildup, install a heating panel with wires and heating elements that run the entire length of the gutter and downspouts. Typical costs are between $500 and $1,000 depending on the roof size.
Remove Snow Manually
When a blizzard strikes, it can be difficult to keep gutters and downspouts from icing up. To eliminate the snow after a storm, get a rake and use it to clear the snow from the gutters and eaves of the roof.
Get Professional Help
Sometimes even the best efforts to keep the gutters snow-free don’t yield the best results. The best cure for frozen gutters is to keep them from freezing. Debris blocks the downspouts and leads to freezing, which adds unnecessary weight to your gutters. Hire a professional gutter cleaner to clear out the debris and leaves that lead to water backup and ice formation. This way, water will flow swiftly down the downspouts.
- Check your attic and roofing insulation and ventilation in the off-season.
- Avoid climbing up the roof with ladders, as the steps are slippery in winter.
- Seek professional help if ice forms underneath shingles and water has started leaking to the house.
Protect Your Home
If you’d like to fight icicles or stop gutters from freezing, get in touch with the waterproofing experts at Innovative Basement Authority. Our experts are experienced in resolving waterproofing issues that arise from ice-damaged gutters. We’ll provide you with a free basement waterproofing inspection and quote and perform necessary repairs so your home stays dry during winter.