How to Prevent Gutters from Icing
Rain gutters are found along the edge of the roof of a home. Their purpose is to divert rainwater away from the roof of a house. These gutters protect a building’s foundation from water. Homes that are found in climates where temperatures can fall below freezing run the risk of developing ice dams in the gutters. When the gutters ice, snow is prevented from melting and running off the roof. This can cause leaking and water damage to the interior of the home. Prevent gutters from icing by being proactive during the warmer months to keep the interior of the house dry and leak-free.
Inspect the attic vents. Make sure the vents are not blocked. Check to see if any insulation in the attic is wet or damaged. If the insulation is damp, remove it immediately. Inspect and repair any visible leaks in the attic or on the ceilings in the house.
Insulate the attic in the home. If the attic is not insulated, or has wet insulation that needs to be removed, purchase insulation for the entire attic, including the ceiling and the floors. Loose-fill or batt insulation will provide consistent coverage. Ensuring the attic’s temperature is maintained and cool will allow the snow to melt evenly on eaves and gutters. Check with area home builders or contractors for advice on how much insulation is needed for your particular home and climate.
Apply heat tapes. Purchase a set of tape or cables that include electric heating wires. String these along the roof just above the gutters. The heat tapes will also help the snow to melt, and will prevent water from backing up into the roof. These can be found at any hardware or home improvement store.
Remove snow from the gutters as soon as possible after a snowfall. If the gutters can be safely reached, use a broom to sweep snow off the gutters to prevent icing. Hire a professional to remove snow from the roof to avoid accidents.
Put rock salt in the gutters. If icing does begin to develop in the gutters, sprinkle some rock salt on top of it. The salt will begin to de-ice the gutters.
Caulk penetrations. Use a waterproof sealant around electrical cables and vent pipes to stop water.
- Consider installing sealed can lighting. Recessed lights give off plumes of heat and cannot be insulated without creating a fire hazard. Can lighting, or “IC” fixtures can be safely covered with insulation.
- To remove ice from gutters temporarily, pour hot water into the gutters to melt any ice or snow build-ups.
Things You’ll Need
- Heat tapes
- Rock salt