Why a Well-Functioning Gutter System Helps Prevent Ice Dams on Minnesota Homes
Believe it or not, there are still a lot of homeowners in the Twin Cities area who don’t have gutters on their homes because of the myth that gutters cause ice dam formation. While that isn’t true, a rain handling system that is clogged or malfunctioning can contribute to the formation of ice dams at the edge of your roof.
The root cause of ice dams forming is the repeated melting and refreezing of snow on the roof of a home. There are a number of factors that work together to cause this, but most often it’s due to lack of proper ventilation in the attic space underneath the roof. That air flow should keep the roof cool.
If you see spots on your roof where the snow has melted, that’s usually an indication that the area in the space under your roof is too warm. But that’s an other article for the future. In this post we want to address the importance of gutters that are doing their job so that ice doesn’t form at the edge.
Gutters and Ice Dams
Ideally, you don’t want that snow to melt on your roof. But in the event it is happening, the water from the snow melt needs to make its way off your roof and away from your home. That’s where your gutters and downspouts play an important part. But sadly many homeowners don’t even think about their gutters in the winter, just during rainy seasons. But gutters need to do the job they were designed to all year round.
What can cause problems wit your gutters in the winter? Clogs from debris like leaves and silt can block water flow. So can sagging gutters that allow water to pool in one spot. The water has nowhere to go, so it sits at the edge of the roof and then freezes. That’s what makes the ‘dam’ at the roof edge. Then as more snow above the dam melts, it flows down onto the ice block. It may refreeze, but in many cases it will infiltrate underneath the roofing and get into your home. If you’ve got brown stains on your ceilings, that is a telltale sign you’ve got ice dams.
We recommend homeowners in our area clean out their gutters in autumn when the leaves stop falling. Gutters should also be inspected and tested to make sure water flows well. This can easily be done with a garden hose.
If you’ve got problem gutters, now is the time to have a new rain handling system installed. We offer seamless steel gutters with oversized downspout openings that can handle water flow, regardless of whether it’s from melting snow or a heavy rain. Contact us for a free quote on getting your new gutters before winter. Your roof will thank you.
Quarve Contracting, Inc. is a licensed Minnesota home improvement contractor. Our specialty is exterior services such as roofing, gutters, and ice dam prevention. We serve the greater Twin Cities metro area.