What to Do about Ice Build-Up in Gutters and Downspouts

Winter can cause gutter problems. When temperatures rise above freezing, snow and ice can begin to melt and flow through your gutters. But if temperatures suddenly drop, as they often do in Chicagoland, this water can freeze and form clogs in your gutters that can lead to more ice buildup. This is a serious problem that can damage gutters or cause them to pull away from your house, and it can even aid in the formation of ice dams.

Angie’s List blogger Paul F. P. Pogue offers some great information and advice about dealing with frozen gutters in his article entitled How Can I Thaw a Frozen Gutter or Downspout?  In this article, Pogue gives a lot of advice including:

  • Resist the urge to break up the ice using a hammer or axe as doing so can lead to even more damage to your gutters.
  • Once your gutters are frozen solid, you are better off just waiting it out. Trying to clear the ice can be dangerous work and can lead to further damage.
  • If you have concerns about your gutters and wish to call a professional, be aware that they may charge between $500 and $1,000 to unfreeze your gutters using a steam or hot-water system. Furthermore, this is merely a temporary fix and, depending on the weather, you can end up facing the same problem again a few days later.
  • The only sure-fire way to prevent the problem of ice build-up in your gutters and downspouts is through the installation of a heating panel system. Through these systems, warmed wires or heating elements are installed along the length of your gutters and downspouts and keep ice from forming.
  • Some professionals warn against using home remedies such as placing salt or ice-melt in your gutters or laying a stocking filled with these types of substances along the top of your gutters. While these remedies may effectively melt the ice in your gutters, it does not prevent the problem from happening in your downspouts. This melted ice can then collect and freeze in the downspout creating a more expensive problem.
  • Keeping your gutters clean and clear of debris goes a long way toward preventing the problem of ice build-up in gutters and downspouts. Pogue recommends cleaning your gutters at least every six months.

You can learn more by reading the full article here.

Problems with ice buildup in your gutters is sometimes unavoidable. If your gutters and downspouts are damaged by ice and snow this winter, know that you can call on Baltic Home Improvements to handle repairs or replacements. We are a leading and trusted home improvement services company that has been operating in the southwestern Chicago suburbs since 2004. Contact Baltic Exteriors today to learn more and to schedule an obligation-free appointment with a knowledgeable member of our staff.