An ice dam is what happens when melting snow rolls down the roof to the eaves, where it refreezes. As the water builds up, it backs up underneath the shingles on the roof and eventually penetrates the roof sheathing. Once this happens, the ice melts into the attic and creates a leak in the house. It's important to know how your gutters play a role and how proper maintenance of your gutters can prevent this problem.
Clogged Gutters Contribute to Rooftop Problems
Your home's gutters are intended to provide an escape route for water rolling down your roof. If your gutters are clogged, this can contribute to the backup of freezing water that crawls up your roof and under the shingles.
What Can You Do To Help Prevent an Ice Dam?
Although clogged gutters don't create ice dams, they can contribute to the problem. You can help prevent an ice dam from forming on your roof by cleaning your gutters and ensuring good drainage. Follow these steps to clean your gutters and potentially avoid roof leaks this winter:
- Gather a tall ladder, a hand trowel, a bucket and leather work gloves.
- Put on the work gloves, then set up the ladder under the gutters.
- Climb up on the ladder and use the hand trowel to dig out the leaves and debris from your gutters. Assuming you haven't cleaned your gutters yet this season, there could be several places where the leaves are creating clogs. Put the leaves from the hand trowel into the bucket. Empty out the bucket periodically.
- Use a hose to flush the remaining dirt and debris out of your gutters. Spray a strong jet of water into the downspout and out into the yard. If the downspout backs up instead of allowing the water to flow to the ground, use a plumber's auger to clear the pipe. To do this, insert the pointed end of the auger into the pipe and turn the crank to get the auger moving. When the tip of the auger encounters the pipe, retract the auger. Once the pipe is clear, flush it with water again to ensure that the clog has been removed.
There are some cases wherein professional gutter cleaning service might help. If you're not comfortable doing DIY tasks, or if your gutters are on the second or third floor, it's best to call a gutter cleaning service. Calling professionals will help ensure that your gutters will be properly cleaned and may prevent you from getting injured or leaving clogs behind.