What to Expect from your Gutter System in Winter

Winter in the Cincinnati, Ohio area can be quite frigid and dreary. It can also do a number on the gutters of your home. If you want to prevent gutter repairs, make sure to perform gutter cleaning in the late fall before winter arrives. In this short guide, you will be informed of the top three expectations of your gutter system this winter.

1. Icicles

Icicles can form when water meets cold metal, which occurs when the roofing material starts to heat up from the sun's rays on a bright winter day. The snow and ice begin to melt, and the water runs to the edge of the roof and into the troughs, which do not have that same warm temperature. The metal of the gutters is still freezing cold. When the water meets the cold, it refreezes, and this can cause icicles to form. This is expected in the winter in a cold climate like Cincinnati, Ohio.

What is not acceptable is when an ice dam forms. Icicles and ice dams are similar but completely different. Ice dams are due to heat loss from your attic space. The heat from the attic causes the ice and snow sitting on your roof to melt at a much faster rate. This increased amount of water comes rushing into the troughs, hits the ice-cold metal, and refreezes as it is overflowing the side of the gutters. This added frozen water could cause issues with your home's painting job on the siding, which can cause future power washing jobs to strip the paint unintentionally in the spring and summer.

2. Minor damage

Another expectation of your drainage system this winter is a small amount of minor damage. Insignificant cost can range from tightening a few screws on the troughs to a gutter repair of a small section of the trough where a seam split. These are minor issues and can be completed relatively quickly and inexpensively by a local handyman or yourself if you can make the repairs. Abnormal damage to the gutters would include the gutters falling off the house from the added weight of ice damming or clogged gutters from the lack of cleaning out debris before the winter season. If your gutters are installed improperly or if they have come to the end of their life, this can cause damage to occur that is extreme and abnormal.

3. Fully functioning system

This is where the importance of gutter cleanings come into play. If you want your gutters to perform over the winter on those warm days where all the snow and ice starts to melt, then you need to make sure the gutters are adequately cleaned in the late fall of debris and leaves. This waste, if left untouched, can cause clogs that will them form ice dams, as the water cannot move freely. This adds extra weight to the troughs and can cause severe damage to your gutters. By cleaning the channels out, you will have a fully functioning drainage system on those warmer winter days, and the water will be able to be flow out the drainpipe into the yard and away from the foundation and HVAC system.

Make gutter cleaning plans for Spring

As you can see, there are multiple things to expect from your gutters over the long, cold winter. Whether you expect freezing and icicle formation, minor damage, or an entirely functioning drainage system, just know your gutters are working for you. Please be kind to them and perform gutter cleanings in the fall and gutter repairs in the spring. If you follow our advice on the top three expectations of your gutter system this winter, you will have the best looking and still fully functioning drainage system in all of Cincinnati!