An Expose on Heated Gutters: In Preparation for Winter Take Your Money Elsewhere
Winter is right around the corner. You can feel it in the air, nipping at your nose and painting your cheeks rosy. As it starts to get colder, you might be wondering whether you should invest in heated gutters for your house’s gutter system. This is perfectly understandable, especially if you’re concerned about ice dams forming on your roof. When deciding if you want to install heated gutters within your gutter system, there are several factors you’re going to want to take into consideration.
For example, the first thing you’re going to want to consider is your location.
- Do you live in a place where it snows a lot during the winter months?
- Does it get so cold that you’ve noticed ice or icicles forming on your rain gutters?
Most agree that heated gutters are probably only worth it if you live in a total winter wonderland, especially considering the price. However, we’re a little skeptical about the actual effectiveness of gutter heaters.
This article will tell you all you need to know about heated gutters as well as discuss whether they are even worth it in most cases, so stick around!
What Do Heated Gutters Do?
Heated gutters are designed with ice dam prevention in mind. Ice damming happens when too much ice builds up in your gutters, creating a sort of “dam” of ice that refuses to melt in the wintertime. Ice damming and icicle growth can also happen if you do not have proper insulation in your attic. The heat that gets released through your roof causes any snow on your roof to melt and run down to your gutter system. The snow then refreezes overnight, which is what creates the ice dam.
The supposed purpose of gutter heaters is to melt away any icicles or ice damming that occurs during the winter. This is meant to keep you safe from falling icicles, as well as prevent water damage from happening. Water damage from ice damming and frozen gutters could lead to some awfully costly home repairs, so that is a good thing to take into consideration as well. This being said, there are a lot of mixed reviews when it comes to heated gutters. Let’s get into it!
The Problem with Gutter Heaters
Some believe that heated gutter cables and heat tape for gutters work wonders when it comes to preventing ice dams, but this is unfortunately not the case. The fact of the matter is ice dams are an interior heat loss problem. In order to prevent them, you need to make sure that your home does not have any insulation or ventilation issues — which is often what causes ice dams to form in the first place.
While it may seem like heated gutter cables are the perfect solution, many homeowners end up finding out the hard way that heated gutter cables simply cannot handle huge amounts of snow. Heated gutter reviews show that all a gutter heater does is melt a small tunnel of snow around the immediate area of the heated gutter cable. In fact, if you live in an area with a lot of snowfall, installing gutter heaters could actually make your ice dam issues worse due to the constant melting and refreezing of the ice and snow in your gutters.
What About the Gutter Downspouts?
Not only can your gutters freeze in the winter, but your gutter downspouts can too. The downspouts can be easy to forget about, but if there is something wrong with the gutter downspouts it can cause excessive strain on the whole gutter system. It can also cause frozen clogs in your gutter system, which is a frustrating issue that can often lead to your gutters springing leaks or breaking down very quickly.
Basically, heated gutter cables or a heated gutter guard may melt the snow in your gutters during the day, but this melted snow is likely to refreeze in the gutter downspouts overnight. Gutter heaters do not take into account the fact that water can freeze upon contact with a frozen gutter. It freezes fast, and it freezes hard. In most cases, gutter heaters simply won’t be powerful enough to combat the amount of ice and snow in your gutters.
More Trouble Than it’s Worth
It’s rather disappointing to learn that heated gutters ultimately aren’t worth it in most cases. While they tend to be fairly useless, some feel that having heated gutters is better than nothing. However, heated gutters can actually do more harm than good. For example, if you’re using heated gutter cables, you’re going to need to check pretty frequently that they’re still working properly and not overheating. This sort of throws the idea of the convenience of heated gutters out the window, as it’s not convenient to have to constantly worry about your gutter heaters.
Heated gutters are also quite expensive. A heated gutter system when installed on an average-sized home can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $4,000. Some believe that this is a worthwhile investment, but considering the fact that gutter heaters don’t even work all that well, it just cannot be worth it in the long run. Heated gutters also use a lot of electricity, so you can definitely expect to pay more than you bargained for if you decide to implement a heated gutter system.
Unfortunately, installing a heated gutter system is often not the solution to ice dams and icicles forming in and around your gutters during the winter months. Although gutter heaters might seem helpful from the outside looking in, they are actually pretty useless in most cases. They do not do an efficient job of melting all the snow in your gutters, and even if they do melt most of the snow, it will likely get stuck in the gutter downspout and refreeze overnight. For this reason, as you’re preparing for winter, you might want to take your money elsewhere. It’s up to you of course, but heated gutters often come with irreparable consequences. Be aware!