When snow, freezing rain, or hail melts on your roof, the resulting water runoff will invariably make its way to your gutters, as it should.
However, some weather or shade conditions can make the water freeze before it gets to the downspouts. When this happens, ‘ice dams’ are created. Ice damming can present significant problems for home and business owners because the condition, if left untreated, can cause some serious damage to gutters.
At A-to-Z Roofing & Exteriors, we’ve seen the destructive aftermath of ongoing ice damming. In extreme cases, ice-dammed gutters and downspouts can be completely destroyed, requiring total replacement. While cases like these may be rare, the leaks caused by ice damming are not!
Why Does Ice Damming Damage Gutters?
As the dammed ice accumulates, it may go through a series of melting/refreezing phases. When this happens, it’s possible for the ice dam to expand enough to burst gutters and downspouts. This is an insidious problem, because it’s often the case that the damage done by ice damming isn’t detected until the ice thaws and leaks are spotted.
Many homeowners are left scratching their heads, wondering how their gutters ‘all of a sudden’ started leaking.
Another common result of ice damming is runoff water spillage. In the case of a significant ice dam, rainwater or snowmelt can’t get to the downspouts. So, it will take the path of least resistance instead, spilling over the gutters and causing potential erosion issues on the ground below.
Now, instead of just having a gutters and downspouts issue, suddenly the area of land surrounding the building becomes affected. If this happens to your home or commercial building, it’s probably time to take some action.
What Can Be Done About Ice Dams?
Before you run out and try to find some ‘secret’ to thawing your frozen gutters and downspouts, know that there is no reliable, cheap, and fast way to resolve an ice dam situation after the freeze has already taken place.
Throwing hot water onto an ice dam is likely to make the situation worse. Moreover, using salt or magnesium chloride to aid in the melting process is rarely ever effective enough to make a difference.
[Tip: Do not *ever* attempt to use a pickaxe, shovel, hammer, or other tool to try to dislodge an ice dam. When homeowners do this, they often end up causing more damage to their property!]
Instead of trying to fix an ice dam problem as it’s happening, it’s best to wait for nature to take its course. Let the ice melt on its own, and take some preventative measures to ensure that ice dams have a lower chance of happening in the future.
Some of the measures you can take to prevent ice dams include:
- Installing attic fans or ventilators. Solar-powered attic fans are a great option to consider, as they can operate on their own without the need for supplied electrical power.
When you install an attic fan, you help to ensure that the air in the attic or crawl spaces isn’t pooling, which can go a long way in preventing ice dams on the roof.
- Clearing all visible debris from gutters and downspouts. Accumulated twigs, leaves, and other debris represent some of the most common culprits of ice dam formulation. By keeping your gutters clean, you’re creating a less obstructed path for runoff water to take.
- Repairing any existing damage. A damaged gutter system can sometimes be worse for a building than no gutter system at all, as secondary ice dams can form along the leaks that develop. Repair any gutter or downspout sections that aren’t doing a good enough job of routing water to where it needs to go.
Ice Damming Dilemma? Contact A-to-Z Roofing, Today
In some cases, ice damming can become so severe that repairs are needed to restore the water routing system to its most efficient condition. If your home or commercial building has been impacted by damaged gutters or downspouts as a result of ice damming, call us.
Our team of roofing professionals knows exactly how to evaluate this kind of damage, make repair suggestions, and execute those repairs so that your gutters and downspouts are kept in tip-top shape.
Don’t let your home or commercial building fall prey to the destructive power of Mother Nature in Colorado. Rely on the roofing professionals at A-to-Z Roofing & Exteriors as your go-to resource for all things roofing, gutters, downspouts, and exteriors (including siding!).