Frozen gutters

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Answered
With snow and temp dropping my gutters have frozen and now running over as sun thaws roof but gutters remain frozen..can you tell me reason why this would happen and is there a fix I can do without major project
Thanks!
Dorothy
  7 answers
  • Jeanette S Jeanette S on Jan 23, 2014
    They are still frozen because they are protected from getting heat from the sun...gutters are simply tray with sides that keeps away the sun! It will take a good thaw...several days of above freezing to melt the ice in the gutters.
  • O'LYN Contractors, Inc. O'LYN Contractors, Inc. on Jan 23, 2014
    The only permanent solution is a snow/ice melt system. You can have the ice removed by a contractor with a steam ice dam removal system. But it will continue to happen under extreme weather conditions. There also may be issues with your soffit ventilation. it is important to keep heat out of your attic and maintain a cool roof deck. This keeps the snow from melting from underneath and refreezing at night, causing ice. Additionally, a roof rake can be used to remove the first few feet of snow behind your gutter, mitigating the amount of melting and refreezing to some extent.
  • You should always have your gutters cleaned before winter sets in. Leaves and debris will clog the gutters causing water to be trapped and then freeze causing this. Birds have also been known to build nests in gutters during drying spells too. One way to avoid is to invest in good gutter guards. Not sure which ones are best because I have been researching them and find each one has their own pros and cons.
  • O'LYN Contractors, Inc. O'LYN Contractors, Inc. on Jan 23, 2014
    Good point C Renee that I neglected to mention.
  • Barbara R Barbara R on Jan 23, 2014
    Where I live, we remove all the gutters. They always freeze in the winters here and it causes the ice to back up under the shingles and do real damage to your roof. You may consider this...
  • O'Lyn Contractors has it correct. heated air from the inside of the house warms the roof deck enough so the snow will melt allowing it to run down to it goes past the outside wall area. Once that happens the cold air that enters into and around that area will refreeze the water causing the ice and water damming. While the normal coarse of action would be to simply add ventilation into the attic, its a bit more complicated than that if you want to be successful in stopping this from occurring at all. Heat escapes from your attic by many ways. Lack of insulation is one reason. Still another reason is poorly sealed attics from the inside of the house. You may think that you do not have any holes leading into the attic other then a light fixture or attic hatch, but you will be wrong. The common attic normally has several dozens if not a few hundred holes that is leaking heat into the attic. Besides causing the heat to escape, your allowing cold air in somewhere else cooling your home down in the process. In addition, winter months is the time when we all start seeing sparks fly when we touch the light switch or your spouses nose after rubbing your socks on the carpet. This is cause by those very air leaks were talking about. Dryer air is coming in while the natural damp air from every day living is leaking out of the house into the attic. To see if your one of those people who suffer from this get into your attic during a deep freeze. Look along the roof edges where the roof meets the floor area. Do you see frost? What about dark stains? Perhaps icicles forming on every nail that holds the shingles onto the roof? This moisture is not coming in from outside. The air outside is already frozen, its coming from the elevated moisture in your home leaking out. Pull some insulation back where it covers wall areas located below. Do you see dark stains? You may or may not see this everywhere, but if you do, its a sign that air is moving through the insulation from below. Most likely its air coming wire holes, ceiling light fixtures, pipes, from around the chimney and just poorly framed walls. The fix? Pull insulation back and using spray foam, caulk and fillers seal off every hole along every drywall joint that is exposed Then install air baffles along the eves of the roof and add insulation to at least an R-30 or greater. Ideally R-40 or more is best Once you have successfully done that you can focus on air entering into the attic (ventilation) at that point. A complete unobstructed soffit vent along with a complete ridge vent system to match is ideal. No power vent. wastes money, short circuits air flow and can fail leaving you with out proper ventilation until you spend more money getting it fixed. Natural air flow always works.The hotter the attic the better it flows from outside.
  • O'LYN Contractors, Inc. O'LYN Contractors, Inc. on Jan 24, 2014
    Woodbridge Environmental did a good job of going into detail on this. What you're seeing with ice dams and frozen gutters is the end result of several issues that are too common in most homes. As a roofer, it is often a challenge to explain all of this to a homeowner in the course of discussing a roof. The plain facts are that an attic affects a roof about as much as the outside weather does and you cannot adequately address a roof without putting equal emphasis on the attic (or lack thereof. you must have some sort of ventilation space.). After 35 years in business, we realized that the roof DOES include the attic, and started offering professional attic insulation services as well, and have been focusing on these issues for the past 5 years.
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