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What does Ice do to your gutters

Your gutters do a lot for your home without a lot of recognition. They hold up throughout the year, with water pouring through, beaten by the abuse of wind, and withering under the heat of the sun. With winter landing in the Greater Cincinnati area though, we find ourselves turning our attention to yet another form of abuse your gutters will have to tolerate. Ice.


Your gutters are designed to take the maximum amount of rainfall that can realistically be expected to strike your home at any point throughout the year, and because of that their primary design is to take care of the capture and drainage of water as it runs off of your roof. During the winter this usually takes the form of runoff resulting from melting snow that’s landed on your roof as it slowly drains throughout the day. However, even though running water is the primary concern for your gutters, the nature of our wildly changing weather patterns in the Ohio River Valley dictate that your gutters have to be prepared as well for ice. 


One might assume on the surface that this isn’t a large difference, what with ice being the natural state of water when the weather drops below freezing, on a chemical level ice behaves in a way that’s very different from flowing water, and because of that, your gutters will have to deal with a unique form of strain as the temperatures drop into freezing territory. 


Water has an unusual property when it freezes, which is that it expands. When water approaches and surpases the freezing point, it slowly pushes outward, taking up more space or volume than it did when it was in liquid form. In nature, this has a number of advantages, it is in part why fish and other aquatic creatures are able to survive in freshwater ponds and rivers as the surface freezes, but the deeper waters do not. When it comes to your gutters and other portions of your home’s construction, however, this expansion property can have serious downsides. 


If your gutters are not draining efficiently, usually because they weren’t properly cleaned, water is left standing in them overnight. As the temperature drops and freezes, this standing water expands. Depending on where the water is stuck, this expansion begins to push out on the sides of your gutters, creating an undue burden and strain on them. If there are leaks in your gutters, the water that freezes in these leaks will push them into larger openings, and thus larger leaks. If leaking water gets into the fascia or walls of your home, when it freezes and expands, it causes cracks and other damage to the wood construction. Over time, minor issues can become major ones, all because the expansion and pressure of ice. 


Getting your gutters inspected and cleaned by the professionals at Cincy Gutter Boys as soon as possible as these colder temperatures approach can prevent this damage. We can ensure your gutters are cleaned out and properly draining, preventing the standing water that can freeze and cause this damage. We can also identify minor issues that can be easily and affordably addressed now before they can be exacerbated by the harsher conditions of winter. Save yourself the time and frustration that waiting can cause, contact us today to schedule your gutter inspection and cleaning