Winter is in full swing here in Lynchburg and surrounding cities. While our winters are milder than in other parts of the country, we get some winter weather. Because our winters are mild and we get some winter precipitation, ice dams are common in our area.
Ice dams can cause harm to your gutters and the rest of your home. They can also injure loved ones or anyone who walks near walkways or patios surrounding your gutter system. Keep reading as we discuss how ice dams can create gutter problems and some tips on how to deal with and prevent them this winter.
What are Ice Dams?
Ice dams are thick pieces of ice that form on a gutter system due to snow and ice that’s trapped inside of the gutter melting, refreezing, and melting again. Ice dams are typical in a climate like Lynchburg’s, where we can get a snow or ice storm one day, and temperatures above freezing the next. The warmer temperatures will cause the ice/snow to melt, while the evening lows will cause it to freeze – it’s a neverending cycle.
As previously mentioned, ice dams are dangerous. If left untreated, ice dams can harm your gutter system by putting excess weight on it, forcing the gutters to sag or even tear away from the home. Next, ice dams can cause interior leaks if left untreated due to the melting water that’s left to sit inside the gutter, which can seep into the home’s interior. Ice dams can also cause damage to the home’s soffit and fascia boards, roof, and siding.
Along with threatening our homes, ice dams can also harm loved ones. Those thick pieces of ice can be sharp, and if they fall while someone is walking underneath them, they could cause injury.
How Can Gutter Problems Lead to Ice Dams?
Ice dams form due to melting snow and ice that is trapped inside the gutter. How does it get trapped? Clogged gutters, of course. When gutters are clogged, water can’t flow through the gutter to the downspout and ultimately away from the home. Instead, water flow is impeded, keeping the snow and ice inside the gutter and blocking it from flowing freely throughout the system. This issue exacerbates the ice dam and allows it to get even bigger and cause more damage.
How Can I Deal with and Prevent Ice Dams?
Understanding how dangerous ice dams are and the damage they can cause to loved ones and your home, you’re probably wondering how to deal with and prevent them. First, if you have ice dams on the lower part of your gutter, use caution before you try to remove them. Below are some measures you can take to remove existing ice dams:
- Use a roof rake to remove built-up snow and ice
- Put a heat cable near the roof edges or inside the gutters to melt the accumulated ice
- Apply a safe ice melt product that won’t damage your roof, like calcium chloride
Removing ice dams can be dangerous – if you feel uncomfortable, contact a professional snow removal service to safely remove your ice dams.
Preventing ice dams begins with cleaning your half-round gutter system regularly. If you have a half-round gutter system, are you cleaning it at least two times a year? If not, you’ll want to give it a good clean before our next winter storm. Removing debris like leaves, twigs, and pine needles will free up space inside the gutter, allowing water to flow freely through the system. You should also have a professional check your home’s insulation to ensure heat isn’t escaping. If you despise gutter cleaning or don’t feel safe climbing a ladder, One Stop Home Improvement Shop can clean your gutters for you. Our gutter cleaning and repair service will get your gutters clean, and we’ll remove any clogs or trapped debris.
To further prevent ice dams, consider installing a new gutter system that can reduce or eliminate clogs. One Stop Home Improvement Shop can install a new seamless gutter system, our Xtreme mesh gutter guard system that blocks debris from entering the gutter system, or K-Guard. Our K-Guard Leaf Free Gutter System has a curved hood that blocks debris from entering the gutter system and allows debris to slide off, reducing the likelihood for ice dams to form.
Ice dams are a nuisance to deal with and can cause injury and damage to a home. Following the ice dam removal tips above and learning how to reduce and prevent them can help. Want to install our seamless gutters or K-Guard? Contact us for a free estimate. One Stop Home Improvement Shop delivers a 5-star experience and has decades of experience and many happy lifelong customers. We’re located in Lynchburg, Virginia, and we cover the surrounding areas.