We usually don't think about gutters at this time of year.  After all, aren't gutters meant to handle rain?  Yes and no.  Gutters and downspouts - also referred to as a rain-handling system - function mainly to water running off your roof away from the house and the ground around the foundation.  In warmer weather that's rain, but in the winter your gutters also need to be in top working order to handle melting snow.  Snow melt on the roof occurs both when the air temperature is above freezing, but also on days when the sun warms the roof enough to melt the snow.  Unfortunately it can also happen in colder weather if your attic is too warm and produces a warm spot on the upper portion of the roof.  That also causes snow melt, but the danger is that because the air temperature is below freezing, that melting snow will re-freeze at the roof edge and in the gutters, causing an ice dam.  An ice dam could mean an emergency roof repair to stop or prevent a water leak.  Ice dam removal should be handled by a professional - there are all kinds of home remedies out there, but most can cause damage to your roof or your gutters.  And they're dangerous if you don't know what you're doing.

Ice dams and snow-laden gutters are common problems in the Twin Cities.  Gutters need to be kept clear and the downspout openings free of blockage so that melting snow can continue to flow and not back up in the gutters, where it will re-freeze.  Gutters heavy with snow and ice will eventually pull away, damaging not only the gutter but possibly the soffit and fascia in the process.   Be sure to keep your gutters clear of debris.  Leaf and other materials blocking water flow in a gutter is a significant factor in ice dam build-up.

Sometimes gutters are also inadvertently damaged in the winter by the use of roof rakes.  If you choose to rake snow off your roof, be careful that you don't snag the edge of the gutter and pull it loose or bend it.

If your gutters have been damaged by ice or heavy snow this winter, it's a good idea to get the repairs made now.  Unfortunately it doesn't look like winter is completely over, and when the spring rains set in you'll want that rain-handling system working well.  Quarve Contracting installs and repairs seamless gutters