ORLANDO, Fla.— We have previously discussed some ways to prevent freezing temperatures from causing damage to your property but gutter maintenance is a topic on it own mostly because most of us think about it as a summer or fall “maintenance-must-do.” Gutters are one feature of your home that must be checked regularly, year round, to make sure they are securely connected to to downspouts.
Gutters are important because as they protect your home from possible rain damage, they prevent issues such as:
- Potential foundation problems
- Flooding underneath the home or in the basement
- Storm water flooding when proper drainage into gravel area is implemented
- Water damage to your exterior siding
In Central Florida we rarely deal with this type of weather conditions, but when in happens, it is important to be aware of how to protect your house, or you may have serious consequences and a claim to your insurance as a consequence. When ice clogs your gutters, it could overfill making them too heavy and break or fall if ice dams occur.
First of all when your gutters are being clogged by debris, it can cause water to pool within the gutter. Then, the water freezes once temperatures get cold enough. It is important to clear leaves, twigs and other materials as well as check for any warping, sagging, loosening or leaking.
If you consider yourself a handy person and run your own home maintenance, it’s important to know the risks because of because of the need to get on a ladder, having an icy roof and the possibility not performing it properly. In the other hand, if you hire a professional you must be aware of insurance coverage of your vendor and yours for any liability.
The following are some tips to prevent gutter damage in the event freezing temperatures become persistent, although unlikely here in Central Florida.
1. Make Sure Your Gutters Are Properly Sloped
The right rain gutter slope allows water to drain through your gutters to your downspout. If your gutters are too flat, water can sit there instead, and it will freeze overnight. Adjust the slope if needed before cold weather sets in to avoid ice buildup caused by poor drainage.
2. Keep Gutters Clean
Once all the leaves have fallen from the trees in your yard, clean your gutters one last time before winter. Soggy leaves and other debris will block water and allow it to pool — and any water that doesn’t drain is likely to freeze and cause problems over the winter.
3. Consider Adding Rock Salt
Just as rock salt will melt ice on your walkways, so too will it melt ice in your gutters. A sprinkling of rock salt can nip ice problems in the bud if you notice icicles beginning to form.
4. You Could Even Try Heated Gutter Cables
In extreme cases if gutters still accumulate ice despite your best efforts, purchase a heated cable designed for gutters and rooftops. String this along the top of your gutter, where its gentle heat will melt ice so water sheds away from your home.
ENJOY LIFE RESPONSIBLY!