Rain Gutter Ice Dams

If you have rain gutters on your home and you live in a climate where the temperature drops below freezing, you can have a problem with ice dams. When the temperature freezes, the snow or ice in your gutters can freeze solid, blocking the path for runoff. When the weather warms up enough to melt the ice, the top layer will melt first and back up onto the roof. If there is a freeze again, the ice and water can go underneath the shingles or other roofing material you have on your roof. When this happens, the water can leak into the house, which will in turn cause water damage to your insulation, ceilings and walls. There are a few products on the market that can help prevent this problem and by preventing ice dams, you will save money by preventing costly water damage inside your home. nice prevention tool is the use of heat tapes. This is a set of tape or cables that include electric heating wires that go along the edge of your roof just above the gutters and in the gutter itself. The heat will keep the snow and ice freezing solid and building up, in and around the gutters. The heating wires also help keep the gutters working properly by eliminating water from backing up onto the roof. KEY TAKEAWAYS:
  • The first way to prevent this damage is to make sure you have proper insulation and ventilation in your attic.
  • Your roofing contractor can help you to assess the potential problems with ice dams.
  • Proper prevention of your investment will save you a lot of money and heartache from the elements.

  • "Having the right system in your attic will help eliminate hot spots on the roof that will allow the snow and ice up there to melt unevenly."

    Original Source: http://www.homeimprovementcorner.com/gutter_ice_dam.php

    The Most Common Locations for Ice Dams

    Here at Alloy Gutter we get many calls during the winter regarding Ice Dams.  What is an ice damn?  An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents melting snow (water) from draining off the roof.  The water that backs up behind the dam can leak into a home and cause damage to walls, ceilings, insulation, and other areas.  Ice dams form when melting snow on a roof runs off and refreezes at the edge of a roof.  This happens because of poor roof insulation.  Ice dams do not mean there is something wrong with your gutters or that your gutters are leaking. The most common area of an ice dam is your eaves.  This occurs because of the condition stated above. The corners of your gutters (Miters) are also a very common area for an ice dam to form.  We here at Alloy Gutter Company get many calls stating that their gutters are leaking at the corners, however the gutters are fine, it’s the water finding the lowest location to drain and the water is running over the frozen gutter causing the dam and homeowners to think that the gutters are leaking. If you are experiencing ice dams on a regular basis there are some things you can do to prevent them.   You can give Alloy Gutter and get your roof raked.  You could also purchase heat tape and have us install that for you.  Before you give us a call to install the heat tape make sure you have a licensed electrician install a plug for the heat to connect to.

    What’s The Deal With Ice In My Gutter System?


    Have you seen the pictures on the news of fountains that have frozen mid-flow? How about Niagara Falls freezing over?

    Are you wondering how your gutters or downspouts can be frozen? Think about it this way. If something that is draining straight down can freeze (i.e. Niagara Falls), can you see how water can freeze in your gutters and downspouts? It is the same concept.

    “But there’s not any ice on my roof!” Even if there does not appear to be any ice on your roof, there can still be ice in your gutters and downspouts. If you feel like your downspouts are not draining correctly, a good way to tell if there is ice in your downspout is by tapping on the downspout and listening to hear if it sounds like it is solid or if it has a hollow sound.

    Thanks to the Polar Vortex and the sub-zero temperatures, we receive many calls about gutters overflowing. The reason for this appearance of overflow is because even if you can’t see it, there is a good chance your gutters are filled with ice.  Anything that comes on top of your ice-filled gutters would appear to be overflowing, but really there is just not any more room in your already-full gutters. It would be similar to having a full cup of coffee and then trying to pour more into it. There isn't any room for the new coffee, so the cup would overflow.


    Unfortunately, there is not much that can be done about the frozen gutters & downspouts until the temperatures rise, and we have a good, old-fashioned thaw. At this point, your gutters and downspouts should start draining properly, and the melted ice (water) should flow out of your downspouts per usual. If, after a thaw, your gutters & downspouts are still not draining properly, then it would be time to have your gutters & downspouts inspected and cleaned out of any non-ice related debris (i.e. – leaves, twigs, miscellaneous debris that was not cleaned out in the fall before the snow and ice).

    We hope that this information lends more insight into what is really going on in your gutters during the winter. Stay warm!