Thick ridges of ice can form when sudden weather changes cause a drop in temperature. Following a cold, rainy day, frozen water in your gutters may cause ice buildup along the eaves of your home. The ice can creep over into gutters and along the edges of the house, causing multiple issues that can damage your house.
What problems does ice cause in my gutters?
Frozen water in your gutters may seem harmless, but it creates an obstruction with significant weight. The combination of blockage, heft, and leakage can cause:
- Gutter Buildup
- Roofing Damage
- Sagging Ceilings
- Warped Gutters
- Wet Insulation
As ice puts pressure on your gutters, it weighs down other parts of the roof and outer walls. Solid ice also collects dirt and debris, which it deposits in your gutters and on the outside of your home when it melts.
Ice will also block the flow of melting water or additional rain that would normally keep your gutters clean and functional. As water backs up, it freezes and contains whatever dirt it carried. When temperatures rise and the ice begins to melt, the built-up dirt will prevent water from flowing through your gutters.
What causes ice in my gutters?
Snow is the most common cause of damming in gutters. But in the Texas hill country, freezing rain tends to help ice in gutters build quickly.
Snow Covered Roofs
As heat from inside the home reaches the attic and meets with the insulation, roof supports and tiles take on some of the remaining heat. Even a change of a few degrees is enough to melt the snow into the gutters. Since the gutters don’t retain any residual heat, the water refreezes, creating an ice dam.
Gutters in Warm Climates
In the depths of winter in warmer climates, temperatures can reach below freezing. Because air temperature fluctuates so often, leftover standing water from rain can freeze in less than 24 hours. Water that hasn’t had a chance to drain, including runoff from rooftops, will collect inside your gutters and harden.
How can I remove ice from my gutters?
There are 3 common ice removal techniques for gutters:
Roof rakes have a long reach and hard edges that help to bust ice apart and pull it from your gutters. Thanks to the extra long handle, you can stand a safe distance away from your gutters to avoid being hit by falling ice.
Hot Water Hose
If you have a hot water hookup, you can spray your gutters with a stream of hot water. This method is more time consuming and will unfortunately waste quite a bit of water, but it has been proven to be somewhat effective.
Roof Tablets and Ice Pick
Roof tablets made of magnesium or potassium help melt ice without wasting water or affecting the environment. They are difficult to spread across your gutters and will sometimes only weaken the ice below. Use an ice pick to break apart and remove weakened ice.
The roof rake is the safest, most effective method for removing ice, but a hot water hose can work just as well if the ice buildup is mild. Keep safety in mind when attempting to pull ice from a significant height or using a ladder in slippery conditions.