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drainage in the winter

Are You Worried That Your Gutters and Downspouts Could Ice Up This Winter?

Iced up gutters and downspouts are a real weather challenge for many homeowners. Don’t let the ice be a precursor to foundation damage.

Winters in Cleveland, OH, usually cause gutters and downspouts to freeze. The low temperatures may also cause big icicles to form and hang dangerously from the roof’s edge. In such cases, the gutters and roof drainage bear the brunt of the snow’s weight, and this could cause them to sag. 

Your biggest concern should be the water that flows from the side of the blocked gutters. These could pool around your lawn, seep through to your foundation, and cause problems. We’ll show you how to remedy the problem of frozen gutters. But first, let’s see what causes your roof drainage system to freeze and clog. 

drainage in the winter

Why Are Your Gutters and Downspouts Freezing? 

You need not look far and wide to get an answer. The most obvious cause is the snow that falls and piles up on the roof. Coupled with blocked gutters, these contribute to a frozen drainage system. Leaves and debris are the common culprits and responsible for both gutter and downspout blockage. Whenever it rains or the snow thaws, it will re-freeze, as it has nowhere to go. 

Like many homeowners, you may be tempted to hammer at the ice. That’s a bad idea, as you could end up damaging the fascia and the shingles. Let’s look at much better ways of remedying this problem. 

Give Your Gutters a Proper Slope 

Water from your roof needs to flow once it gets to the gutters. If the gutters are not sloping toward the downspout, you can expect water to collect in your gutters. This water will freeze overnight when the temperature dips further. Before winter, check your gutters to see if they have enough slope that allows water flow. 

Gutter and Downspout Heaters 

A sloping gutter will not always be enough to get rid of water from your roof drainage. To get rid of any residue water, buy some heated cables and string them along the gutters and downspouts. The heated cables melt the water in the gutters and downspouts allowing the ice to flow. 

Heating the ice on the gutters is a temporary and expensive solution. A hot water system or steaming clears the ice when you need them to. However, in no time, the ice builds up again in the same spot. A heating panel that comes with wire and heating components running through the whole roof drainage system is the best solution. Such a system typically costs between $500-$1,000, depending on the size of the roof. 

Manual Snow Removal 

If you have more than usual snowfall, you can use a roof rake to get rid of snow from your gutters, downspouts, and roof. However, don’t knock the icicles or the heap of snow as you could damage the roof. 

Professional Cleaners 

Cleaning out your gutters after every blizzard is exhausting and time-consuming. Sometimes, it is better to just get a professional to clean the gutters. This way, the gutters and downspouts will be clear and allow melt-offs to flow freely. 

Other Tips: 

Make use of the off-season to inspect your roofing insulation and attic. You shouldn’t also try climbing the roof in winter using a ladder as steps are slippery and dangerous. Let a professional contractor check your gutters or leaking roof and resolve any blockage. 

Start Protecting Your Home 

If you’re afraid that frozen gutters or icicles could impede water flow and lead to foundation damage, get in touch with the experts at Ohio Basement Systems for a free basement waterproofing inspection and quote. Our professionals will inspect your home and perform necessary repairs to protect it from water damage in winter. They will also recommend measures and steps to minimize snow damage. 

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