When is Ice a Danger to Your Roof?

Gutter covers
Ice is lovely to look at, but icicles and ice dams are dangerous to your roof and gutters.

There’s nothing quite like looking out of your window from the coziness of your home to see your world covered in snow and ice. Whether you live in a place where the icy season lasts for months on end or you experience the occasional cold snap, you need to be aware of the impact that ice has on your home. While ice is beautiful, it can also be a danger to your roof and everything around it.

When Does Ice Become a Problem?

On a winter morning, you expect to see a little bit of frost on your roof. When does this ice become a danger? When ice begins to form in your gutters, you run the risk of experiencing water damage due to ice formation.

In the fall and spring, water runs from your roof into your gutters. If you have a gutter cover or your clean your gutters regularly, this water then moves easily and without impediments, moving from your roof into the gutter and into the drains. Your roof and gutters act as a unified drainage system.

However, in the late fall and winter months, the temperature drops. The water that moves into your gutters suddenly becomes colder. If your gutters are slightly clogged or if it is very cold, the water may move more slowly and turn to ice.

When ice starts to build up in your gutters, it doesn’t do it all at once. It begins in smaller chunks that then block other water from moving down the drain. Just like leaves can block your gutters, ice can block them as well. Soon, your entire gutter is full of ice that will stay around even after the temperature begins to rise.

Gutter covers
Small leaks can become serious, especially if you can’t see them because they’re covered by a layer of snow.

What Happens When Ice Clogs Your Gutters?

When water turns into ice, it expands. This clogs your gutters and can cause them to warp. Once your gutters are full, ice begins to expand over the side of the gutters. Icicles form, and they can be dangerous to people walking below.

One of the most difficult ramifications of ice formation comes when snow or freezing rain falls on your roof. If it’s close to freezing, the heat of the roof may allow the ice and snow to melt a little, and this water moves down your roof to the gutter. This can occur without you noticing, since it may happen at the bottom of a thick blanket of snow that covers your roof. The water reaches your gutters, and when it gets exposed to the cold, it freezes. This ice turns into a dam, causing water to back up onto your roof. The water that’s left on your roof starts to seep into crevices, freeze, and then thaw again, expanding cracks in the roof and seeping down into your attic.

What’s the solution? By adding a gutter cover with gutter heat, you can avoid ice dams. The water that reaches your gutters will be warmed and flow easily into the gutters and down the drains. You’ll avoid the icicles and ice dams that can cause havoc on your roof in the winter months.

Overflowing Ice

Ice isn’t just dangerous to your roof, it’s also dangerous to the landscaping and structures around it. When you live in a place where the temperature hovers around freezing for much of the winter, the freeze-thaw cycle can be deadly for your walkways as well. When ice thaws but some remains in your gutters, the gutters cannot drain properly. Water drips down from your gutters onto the walkways below, and when it freezes again, it turns into a sheet of ice. Water also moves behind the gutters, damaging the fascia and running down your siding, then freezing. How can you avoid this potentially-dangerous ice? Installing a heater in your gutters keeps water in its liquid form, no matter what the weather holds. This allows water to move easily down your drains and into the ground without damaging your siding or landscaping.

At Harry Helmet, we’re here to help you protect your home, no matter what the weather. From the leaves of fall to the snow and ice of winter, our gutter covers and gutter heating products will keep your home drainage systems running smoothly. Don’t let ice make your winter time miserable: add gutter heat and enjoy the winter scenery without dreading the impact that winter has on your home. Contact Harry Helmet today to schedule an appointment.

Written by Del Thebaud

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