ice in gutters and downspouts
ice in gutters and downspouts

When icy winter storms hit, ice in gutters and downspouts can buildup into rock-solid masses.

Frozen gutters can pull away from roofs, lead to leaks inside the home or even form ice dams.

Read on to learn how to prevent gutters from freezing and what to do if you have ice on your gutters.

What to do About Ice Gutters

If you are dealing with frozen ice gutters, the first thing you should do is have patience.

Don’t go out there with a hammer and try to chisel the ice out. You can do a lot of damage to your gutters this way. 

In fact, once your gutters are frozen solid, the best thing to do is nothing and just wait for a thaw.

As long as the water isn’t leaking into your home, the underlayment in your roof is doing it’s good and there’s no real reason to panic. 

If You Must Do Something

If a warm winter day isn’t likely and you are concerned about your gutters or roof, there is something you can try.

If the ground is safe and level, grab a ladder and pour warm water into the top of the frozen downspout or gutter.

A bit of warm water should be enough to break up frozen chunks and clear the blockage.

You can also use a hose connected to a hot water tap to spray water on the outside of your frozen downspout. The heat transfer may dislodge the ice and let water start flowing again.

How to Prevent Gutters From Freezing

Now let’s talk about what to do to keep gutters from freezing in the first place. As we all know, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Here are some things you can do to prevent ice in gutters and downspouts. 

Make Sure Your Gutters Are Properly Sloped

Rain gutters should slope 1/2-inch for every 10 feet. That allows water to easily flow to the downspout.

If your gutters sit flat, water will just sit in the gutter and freeze. Before winter strikes, adjust the slope of your gutters if needed.

Use Heat Tape or a Heating Panel System

Another option you can try this winter to keep gutters from freezing is to use heat tape or a heating cable.

You can buy both at your local home improvement store. Both work to keep your gutters and downspouts warm enough to prevent water from freezing.

Note that you shouldn’t run a heating cable through a frozen downspout because these cables shouldn’t get immersed in water.

Another option is to install a heating panel system along your gutters. These systems involve a network of heating elements all along your gutters and downspouts.

Contact a licensed, professional gutter company to have this system installed in your home. 

Proper Maintenance

One of the best things you can do for your home is to clean your gutters every six months.

Debris in the gutters and downspouts is the main reason water builds up in either area. Regularly cleaning out leaves and other debris can make all the difference.

Final Word on Ice in Gutters and Downspouts

Thanks for reading! We hope this guide on how to deal with ice in gutters and downspouts comes in handy this winter.

Remember, your gutter system is the unsung hero of your home. It works to prevent water damage to your foundation and your roof.

Interested in working with us for a residential project? Contact us for a free quote. 

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