Gutter guards are not the cause of ice dams or ice-blocked gutters. In fact, gutter guards help prevent your gutters from being blocked with ice and snow during the winter months. If ice dams are forming on your roof and causing water to leak through your ceiling, this is almost always due to poor roof insulation. If ice is forming inside your gutters, this is most likely due to a clogged gutter. You can prevent ice dams by improving your roof insulation. To keep your gutters ice-free, clean them in the fall. Then, lay a heat cable in the bottom of your gutter. A self-regulating heat cable in your gutter will thaw ice and prevent blockages.
Table of Contents
What Causes Ice Dams and Frozen Gutters?
Ice dams are large buildups of ice on your roof. They are not caused by gutters. In fact, they are caused by the heated air inside your home leaking out through a section of a poorly insulated roof. The heat melts the snow into water. Then, as the water runs down your roof to a colder section, it freezes into ice. This creates a massive ice dam that can cause water to leak in through the roof. Gutters are not the cause of ice dams.
- Ice dams are caused by warm air leaking out through poorly insulated sections of your roof.
- The warm air that leaks out melts snow, which runs downhill and refreezes on a colder section of your roof.
- Frozen gutters are caused by clogs of foreign material (such as leaves, twigs, or pine needles).
- Sometimes, extreme snowfall can contribute to frozen or clogged gutters.
If you are dealing with frozen gutters, it’s important to note that they are typically caused by clogged gutters. However, heavy snowfall or an ice storm can contribute to this problem. If you’ve dealt with frozen gutters in the past, follow these tips to keep your gutters from freezing this winter.
Do Gutters Guards Make Ice Dams Worse?
Although the snow may refreeze into ice on your gutters, your gutter guards are not the cause. Gutter guards also won’t make ice dams worse or increase the likelihood that ice dams form. An ice dam forms when snow on your roof melts and runs down the slope, then refreezes in a colder area.
- Gutter guards do not make ice dams worse.
- Installing gutter guards does not increase the chance of ice dams forming on your roof.
- Gutter guards are one of the best tools for preventing frozen gutters.
- In rare cases, gutter guards can collapse under the weight of snow, which can cause a clogged, frozen gutter.
Gutter guards are excellent at preventing clogs in gutters, so installing gutter guards is one of the best ways to decrease the likelihood of frozen, clogged gutters during the winter. There are very few cases where gutter guards cause frozen gutters. Typically, this only occurs if your gutter guards collapse under the weight of snow and ice.
Do Gutter Guards Cause More Icicles?
Gutter guards can increase the frequency of icicles forming on your gutters, but they are not the cause of the icicles. Just like ice dams, icicles occur when hot air leaks out of your roof, which melts the snow there. This melted snow then runs down your roof. When it tries to run off the edge of the roof, it forms icicles. Sometimes, gutters with guards can produce more icicles than unguarded gutters, but repairing your roof insulation will prevent icicle formation in almost all cases.
- Gutter guards can cause more icicles to form on your gutters, but only if your roof has insulation problems.
- Like ice dams, icicles form on your gutters when heated air leaks out and melts snow, which refreezes into icicles.
- Instead of removing your gutter guards, repair your attic insulation to prevent icicles.
Rather than blame gutter guards for your icicles, go outside and take a look at your roof after a snowfall. If there are areas where the snow has melted away, note them. This is where heated air is leaking out of your home through a ceiling or attic area. By installing additional insulation in these areas, you can prevent icicles and ice dams.
How Do You Prevent Ice Dams in Gutters?
To stop ice from forming in your gutters, begin by cleaning your gutters in fall, once two-thirds of the leaves have fallen off the trees. Make sure there are no leaves, twigs, or pine needles that are clogging your gutters or downspouts. Then, lift your gutter covers and lay heating cables along your gutters and downspouts. Plug your heating cable into an outlet once temperatures reach freezing. The cable will turn on automatically in cold weather. It will melt any snow or ice that makes its way into your gutters.
- Clean your gutters thoroughly in fall—lift the guards to spot clogs and remove debris.
- Lay this heat cable inside your gutters to melt snow and ice throughout winter and eliminate clogs.
- Use a roof rake or similar tool to pull excess snow off your roof after heavy snowfalls.
- Consider removing gutter downspout extensions to prevent frozen gutters.
If you are still concerned that your gutters may freeze solid, remove snow from your roof after snowstorms. It is best to use a roof rake or similar tool to pull snow off the roof while you stand safely on the ground. Then, take our steps to prevent your downspouts from freezing.
Will Installing Gutter Guards Cause Ice Dams in the Winter?
If you are worried that your gutter guards could cause ice dams, frozen gutters, or long-term damage to your home in winter, keep these facts in mind:
- Gutter guards are not a cause of ice dams.
- Gutter guards are one of the best tools for preventing frozen, blocked gutters in winter.
- Ice dams and icicles are caused by poor roof insulation.
- The best way to prevent ice dams and icicles is by improving your roof and attic insulation.
- Clean your gutters in the fall to prevent blockages.
- Install heat cable inside your gutters to melt snow and ice all winter.
Strong gutter guard systems will stand up to winter weather and help to eliminate ice blockages that can ruin or damage your gutters. If ice dams are still forming when you have gutter guards, look to improve your roof insulation. This will solve the problem at its source.