Winter gutter maintenance

Man maintaining his gutters during winter season

Having to clean gutters in winter isn't at the top of anyone's list when it comes to fun things to do. However, if you've been putting it off or haven't prepared sufficiently beforehand, you might be in for a nasty surprise when the colder months arrive.

Winter's freezing temperatures can lead to ice dams forming in your gutters. These ice dams, created by melting and refreezing cycles, pose a significant risk to your gutters, roof, and overall foundation.

Nevertheless, such problems can be effectively mitigated with regular gutter maintenance. Keeping your gutters free of debris throughout the year simplifies winter maintenance and safeguards your home against potential cold-weather damage.

What are gutter seams and anchors?

Gutter seams and anchors are vital components of your home's gutter system. The seams are junction points where different sections of your gutter connect, while anchors secure the gutter system to your house.

As winter approaches, it's advisable to thoroughly inspect these components to check for any leaks or cracks. This is because water that freezes inside these faults can worsen the damage, potentially causing severe issues. You may also find frozen leaves in this section of your gutter that you'll wish to remove.

Begin your inspection by examining each gutter seam for potential leaks. Follow this by checking every anchor that affixes the gutter to your house's fascia. If you encounter any issues, such as holes or leaks, it's crucial to address them promptly. You can undertake the repair work yourself if you're comfortable doing so or engage the services of a professional to ensure the longevity and efficiency of your gutter system.

How do I fix gutter seams and anchors safely?

If you're inspecting your gutter seams and anchors and will make any repairs yourself, keeping safety in mind at all times is essential.

  • Ensure your ladder is on solid ground.
  • Have someone hold the ladder in place for you.
  • Use the right ladder for the right height. You'll need an extension ladder if a step ladder isn't high enough.
  • Maintain a 3-point contact when climbing or descending. This means two hands and a foot, or two feet and a hand.
  • Don't carry tools in your hands as you climb up or down a ladder. Use a tool belt or raise your tools with a hand line.

You'll need waterproof patches or sealant if you make the fixes yourself. Then:

  • Clean the gutter – remove any debris. You can use a putty knife to scoop out buildup. Use a wire brush to scrub away rust. Flush out gutters and allow them to air dry first.
  • Apply a waterproof patch – cut the tape to the desired size, ensuring it's more significant than the area you need to cover. Then, place the tape over the area and rub the entire surface aggressively by hand (especially the edges).
  • Apply sealant – use steady pressure to force sealant into the area. If you can, clamp the parts together firmly. Leave the seal for 24 hours to cure fully.

In addition to preventing clogging, Leafguard seamless gutter systems ensure you don't need to worry about this issue.

What are downspouts?

Downspouts are an essential component in gutter systems. Gutter spouts are the pipes connected to the house and run vertically. Water flows from gutters into downspouts to move it away from the foundations of your house and avoid it gathering in puddles near the walls. If your downspouts aren't placed correctly, you could damage your house from moisture and mold.

During the colder months, this function is essential. The correct placement and upkeep of downspouts can prevent ice buildup near your home's foundation, which could lead to significant moisture and mold issues. Therefore, as part of your winter maintenance routine, inspect and maintain your downspouts to protect your home from potential winter-related water damage.

How do I check my gutter downspouts?

You should regularly check your gutter downspouts, mainly when the weather turns colder. This is because they can fill with ice, back up into your gutter and downspouts, and tear them loose. If they tear off, it can mean severe damage to your roof.

  • If your gutter is bent or leaning in the wrong direction, you can force it back into position. Check the brackets before and after the problem area to ensure they're not loose or broken.
  • You should clean your gutters every fall to prevent your downspouts from freezing and forming ice blockages. Also, make sure you clear piled snow away from downspout exits. If they become blocked with ice, you can pour boiling water on the downspout exterior where the blockage is. Alternatively, consider wrapping the downspouts with heat tape. This will melt any existing ice and help prevent future freezing.

If you don't feel confident handling downspouts, consider hiring a professional.

Protect your home this Winter with Leafguard

Don't let winter weather wreak havoc on your home. With Leafguard, you can ensure your gutters can withstand even the harshest elements. Our seamless gutter systems eliminate the risks associated with clogged and damaged gutters and reduce the need for regular maintenance, saving you time and effort. Make the smart choice this winter.

Contact Leafguard today to give your home the protection it deserves.