Snow, ice, and fallen leaves are the biggest cause of gutter and downspout blockage during winter. Ice and snow can add extra weight on your roof causing damage to the facial boards where gutters are mounted. Clogged gutters can be a disaster during winter if nothing is done to address the problem in time. If you never had an opportunity to clean your gutters and downspouts during fall, then it is important to ensure it is done during the winter months. You can still clean your gutters during winter but you need to consider a few essential things to guarantee your safety and the best way to protect your roof against the onslaught of winter.
How to Keep Your Gutters Clean During Winter
- Remove Any Fallen Leaves or Debris
Despite your cleaning efforts during the months preceding winter season, fallen leaves and other debris can still find their way inside your gutters and downspouts. Removing debris during winter can be the most unpleasant task given the freezing temperatures and combined weight of snow and ice in the gutters. It is important to focus on corners and junctions where leaves are more likely to gather. Some of the tools you may need for this task include pressure washers, gutter scoop, a garden trowel, gloves, and a sturdy ladder. One of the best ways to reduce the inconvenience of removing debris from your gutters during winter is to install gutter covers.
- Keep Your Attic Properly Insulated
Many homeowners never think of their attic when it comes to keeping their gutters clean and free from damage. However, this can help to minimize the snow and ice dams that flow down from your roof into the gutters. Always keep your ceiling and roof area properly insulated during winter as it plays an important role in getting rid of ice dams that may cause gutter and downspout blockages. It is advisable to seek professional help if you experience any problems with insulation as it could make your gutters harder to clean and function properly.
- Thaw Iced Gutters
There are situations when your gutters may become partially iced causing blockages or accumulation of debris on one side of the gutter. There are several ways you can melt the ice to ensure the gutter is clear and functioning properly. You can fling about small drops of calcium chloride to break down the large blocks of ice inside the gutters. Avoid using rock salt as it can cause corrosion on the gutters making them unhealthy for you and your family.
Alternatively, you can break the ice in clogged gutters using an ice pick and chisels. Keep in mind that this action can cause damage to your roof and gutters when not done properly. It is also important to take safety precautions against falling when accessing your gutters.
- Check Downspouts and Diverter
Regardless of the number of times you remove debris or ice dams from your gutters, they will continue to pile as long as the downspouts and diverters remain clogged. It is important to ensure that water flows away from your home’s foundation instead of pooling around the house. The downspout should be detached from the barrel if the water is diverted to a rain barrel until warmer weather returns. This helps to keep rainwater and melted snow flowing from the gutters through the downspouts and away from your home. As a result, your gutters will remain clean as long as the downspouts and diverters are free from any clogs or blockages.
- Regular Gutter and Downspout Maintenance
There are several ways to maintain your gutters besides clearing fallen leaves and other debris from your gutters. Inspecting your gutters regularly is the key to keeping them clean and functioning properly. It is important to ensure they are securely connected to the downspouts as it helps to protect the siding. Downspouts are a smart investment as they ensure water running from the gutters is directed away from your home’s foundation. Regular inspection and maintenance reduce the risk of gutter blockages and roof damage during winter.
While it is possible to clean your gutters during winter, it can be such a risky adventure because of the need to climb a ladder and improperly performing maintenance tasks. You also risk damaging your gutters when you use the wrong tools and methods to remove ice dams. It is always important to take precautions when cleaning or performing gutter maintenance during winter. If you do not think you can handle such a task on your own, then it is important to contact a professional to have your gutters cleaned safely and properly.