Ice Damming

Learn why your gutters may be damming with ice during the winter:

roof-ice-damThe whole process starts due to heat loss through your roof and this may be why your roof is clear before the others on your block.  Proper insulation and ventilation is the key to preventing this situation.

The type of guards you have work on the principle of water tension.  The water runs down the roof, hugs the guards, and drops into the gutter.  The tunnel of very cold air created by the guards, in the gutter, causes the melting snow running down to freeze before it can drop in and this is what causes the build up of the icicles.  Without the guards this snow melt refreezes in your gutter and has nowhere to go but to back up into your home.

The extra weight this ice puts on the soffit of your home can cause additional structural issues, as a cubic foot of ice weighs 62 ½ pounds.  The guards actually help prevent this build up by keeping this ice outside your gutters while, unfortunately, causing icicles.  In our experience we have found that having to knock down these icicles is preferable to running the risk of an actual ice dam and potential moisture penetration of your home.

Another possible solution is to install a heated coil above the panels which should help in most situations.  An electrician can take care of this but there are some DIY kits.


This Old House has also put out some great resources on ice damming:

Preventing Ice Damming

Asking This Old House Video: Ice Dams & City Trees