Frozen Spears and Christmas Cheers, Keep your Gutters Clear!

          Once again winter is upon us! While we all take time to admire the changing of the season we may not notice the danger forming right over our heads. Icicles. These icicles could come loose at any moment and come crashing down. Frozen spears have no regard for those below. Not only can these icicles fall and injure anyone below they can also tear off your gutter! Ice accumulation will increase your chances of your gutters being pulled away or even torn from the home due to the added weight. So what does this term winterizing your gutters mean? Well we will discuss briefly some things that you can do to help prevent those beautifully dangerous icicles from forming on your gutters. Before you invite your family and friends over for the holidays make sure to winterize your gutters.

How the Icicles Form

        We need to understand what causes these icicles to form in order to prevent it. The icicle formation is a result of ice damming. As snow accumulates on your roof it will build up with the natural slope of your roof. Heat rises in your home and escapes through your roof it will melt the snow that is closest to the top of the roof. As the snow melts it will run down the roof freezing as it reaches the edge of the roof due to the temperature being reduced to freezing by the accumulated snow. Ice will begin layering under the snow. Thus a barrier known as an ice dam will form.  This ice dam is where the icicles come in. Progression of this process will cause accumulation of ice according to the natural slope, towards the gutters. Eventually forming icicles.

         We are all familiar with that slightly uncomfortable feeling of walking under these frozen fingers of death. With no way to be certain if they will or will not fall we are left with a few options. We can play a winter version of Russian roulette every time we are going in or out of our home or, we can winterize our gutters. Here are some quick tips to help you winterize your gutters for the winter!icicle-coloring-page-1

                                             Keeping the Long Frozen Fingers of Death at Bay

  1.  Check your gutters to make sure they are clear of debris. If the gutters can not drain water that is running down the roof edge then the water will inevitably freeze in your gutters. Adding weight and wear. Simply clean your gutters! It is often the simple solutions we tend to overlook. With our gutters free of debris the water can be drained away from your home. This will help prevent accumulation of ice. Hopefully we have been keeping our underground drain lines clean!

  2.  Make sure your attic is properly insulated. Don’t forget the air sealing! This will help keep the precious heat we are paying for in our homes! Not only will this reduce your heating bill it will also minimize the snow being melted on the roof. Less snow being melted into water is less water being frozen on your roof edge.
  3.  You can always install a heat cable in your gutters. These heat cables are electric powered and will keep the temperature in your gutters and downspouts above freezing. We would hate to burn our friend Jack Frost but, he started it.
  4.  Our last tip would be to explore attic ventilation. At times the heat sources can travel through the attic itself. With no way to relocate these heat sources we are left with limited options. We recommend looking into attic ventilation. Allowing excess hot air that is accumulating in the attic to escape will prevent your roof from being caught in a fierce battle of hot and cold!