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Ice Dams & the Damage They Bring to Your Gutter System

Winter is, for most of the northern hemisphere, the herald of the holiday season. The snow and the chilly weather are great reasons to feast and enjoy winter. However, there are also some parts of it that may not be so pleasant. Ice dams are a great example of the awful realities that come with winter.

Gutters in Salem—and in most of the snowy cities of the US—are designed to allow the snow melting from the roof to slide into the gutters and down the downspout. However, if your gutters are ill-maintained, ice dams can form when the melted snow piles up and slides off from the side of your roof, instead of your drainage system. When this snow refreezes, it can block the path of the newly melted snow.

Ice dams are caused by the imbalance between the outdoor and indoor temperatures, due to probable failure of your ventilation system to regulate.

When the weather gets really cold, Salem gutters are at an even greater risk. Ice dams can easily accumulate in size and weight, given the right conditions. When this happens, they can become too heavy, and put an undue amount of stress on the gutters. The weight can damage, weaken, and eventually rip the gutters out of their position, which can lead to an even greater number of problems.

So in order to avoid ice dam formation and the eventual destruction of your gutters, here are a few tips:

• Keep your gutters free of clutter. Make regular gutter cleaning a habit. • Invest on a good ventilation system along your ridges and eaves. This is one of the best methods of controlling the balance of indoor and outdoor temperature. • Increase insulation in the attic. Having more insulation in the attic can keep the heat within the attic instead the heat seeping out through the ventilation shafts. • Seal possible penetrations and heat sources. Caulking electrical cables and ventilation shafts are a great example of sealing potential heat sources. • Put flashing around the chimney to fill the gap between the chimney and the house frame. No gaps means no air leaks and better insulation.

Apply these tips to prevent the formation of ice dams. This way, you can enjoy winter without having to worry about your gutters and roof.

Should you have any questions on roof gutter installation and roof insulation, just pick up the phone and give us a call.


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