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Should You Remove Gutter Guards in Winter?

You do not need to remove gutter guards in winter. Gutter guards do not contribute to ice dams or clogged gutters in winter. In order to prevent ice blockages and frozen gutters, install gutter guards at an angle, clean your gutters in the fall, and use heat tape to keep your gutters thawed in winter weather. If you are experiencing ice dams on your roof, removing your gutter guards will not solve the problem.

Remove gutter guards in winter

Can Gutter Guards Cause Ice Dams in Winter?

Gutter guards are not a cause of ice dams. Ice dams occur when certain portions of your roof are better insulated than others. Heat leaking through the roof in a poorly insulated area melts the snow into water. This melted snow then flows down the roof until it reaches a colder section, where it refreezes into a mass of ice. This is what causes your roof to leak and can contribute to water damage in your home. Gutter guards have no effect on ice dams.

  • Gutter guards are not a cause of ice dams.
  • Ice dams are caused when roofs are unevenly insulated, which causes snow to melt and refreeze.
  • Clogged gutters can freeze in winter, but this is not the same problem as ice dams.

Improperly cleaned gutters can become clogged with snow and ice. This can put strain on your gutters and even cause them to tear free from your home. However, this issue is not the same as an ice dam. In fact, installing gutter guards is one of the best ways to keep gutters from freezing in winter.

Do Gutter Guards Cause Icicles?

Icicles on the edge of your roof or gutter are not caused by gutter guards. Like ice dams, icicles are caused when heated air leaks out through your roof due to poor insulation. This melts the snow, which runs down the roof and refreezes as it tries to drip off your gutters. Even if you remove your gutter guards, if your roof is poorly insulated, you will get icicles in winter.

  • Gutter guards are not a cause of icicles.
  • Icicles are caused by inadequate roof insulation that causes snow to melt on your roof and refreeze on your gutters.
  • Improve your attic insulation to eliminate icicles.

Icicles are dangerous because they are sharp pieces of ice that can cause harm to people and animals if they fall. Also, icicles can be very heavy. A large number of icicles forming on your gutters can put a strain on them. To prevent damage to your gutter system and your home, repair or improve the insulation in your attic or roof.

Is it Normal for Gutters with Gutter Guards to Freeze?

It is never normal or acceptable for gutters to freeze in winter. This applies whether your gutters have gutter guards or not. Frozen gutters can be caused by clogs from dead leaves and twigs, or by melted snow flowing down into your gutters from your roof and refreezing. A good gutter cleaning in fall, sprinkling de-icer in your gutters, or laying heat cable in your gutters can prevent frozen gutters.

  • Gutter guards do not increase the risk of frozen gutters.
  • Gutters should never be allowed to become blocked with frozen material, regardless of whether they have gutter guards or not.
  • Clean gutters in fall and heat them throughout winter to prevent blockages.
  • It may be necessary to remove downspout extensions that lie on the ground to prevent frozen gutters.

To help prevent gutters from freezing, consider whether you should remove your downspout extensions. Long lengths of downspouts that lay along the ground are prone to being covered in snow and freezing. This can cause a backup of ice inside your downspouts that can freeze your gutters solid. Gutter guards don’t contribute to frozen gutters, but improper preparation for winter will cause harm to your home.

What are the Best Gutter Guards for Winter?

The best gutter guards to prevent freezing and clogs in winter are guards that have small holes in them. These holes allow melted snow and ice to flow through and drain out of your gutter downspouts. Solid gutter guards can resist draining and are more prone to becoming clogged in winter.

  • These micro-mesh gutter guards with small holes allow melted snow and ice to drain but prevent gutter clogs from leaves and sticks.
  • Solid gutter guards are more likely to freeze in winter, so choose a design with small holes to encourage drainage.
  • Metal gutter guards are the most durable choice for winter conditions—metal resists damage from temperature changes.

When choosing a gutter guard that can stand up to harsh winter weather, opt for a metal gutter guard if possible. Unlike some plastics, metal can withstand the freeze and thaw cycle of winter weather. By choosing a metal micro-mesh gutter guard, your gutters will drain in winter and last for many years.

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How Do You Prevent Ice Damage from Gutter Guards?

To ensure your gutter guards resist freezing and gutter clogs, begin by installing your gutter guards at an angle. Rather than installing your gutter guards flat across your gutter, angle them so they follow the slope of the roof. This helps snow and debris slide off the gutter. Flat gutter guards can collect leaves, pine needles, sticks, and snow, which increase the risk of clogs.

  • Install guards at an angle to help prevent clogs.
  • Clean your gutters and gutter guards in the fall to eliminate clogs that can lead to frozen gutters.
  • Install this heat cable inside your gutters and downspout to prevent ice and snow from freezing there.

In order to prevent clogs and blockages during the winter months, fully clean your gutters in the fall. Make sure to remove any leaves, pine needles, and twigs inside the gutters, as well as debris that may have collected on top of the gutter guards. Then, lift your gutter guards and lay a heat cable inside your gutter. Plug this cable into an outlet as soon as temperatures drop below freezing. A self-regulating heat cable will thaw snow and ice that makes its way into your gutter. This will ensure your gutters drain properly all winter, even with your gutter guards in place.

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Should Gutter Guards Be Removed in Winter?

Before you remove your gutter guards in preparation for winter, review these quick facts:

  • You do not need to remove your gutter guards in winter.
  • Gutter guards do not cause ice dams or icicles.
  • Ice dams are caused by poor attic and roof insulation.
  • Your gutters should never be allowed to freeze or become blocked with ice during winter.
  • Clean your gutters and install heat cable inside the gutter to prevent frozen gutters.
  • The best gutter guards for winter areas are metal micro-mesh gutter guards that allow melted snow to drain through.
  • Install gutter guards at an angle to help them resist blockages and freezing in winter.

Gutter covers are an excellent tool to help prevent clogs and blockages in your gutters no matter what season you’re in. There is no need to remove gutter guards from your home as long as your gutters are cleaned, heated, and prepared for winter.

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