If you live in Wisconsin, you don’t need a thermometer to tell you how cold it gets. With temperatures that can drop to -30°F, winterizing your house is so important.
You’ve sealed the windows, insulated your pipes, and serviced your water heater. You’ve brought in all your plants and installed a door sweep to stop the cold air. Your caulking gun got a work-out.
One thing you can’t forget is gutter maintenance. You need to perform this task to help them survive the upcoming snow and ice. Read on for smart gutter tips for the upcoming winter.
Invest in Heated Gutters
Ice buildup is a big cause of winter gutter malfunction. While those icicles hanging from your roof and gutters might be a beautiful sight, they can cause damage to your gutters and your roof.
Severe ice buildup in your gutters will slowly melt from your home heat. Rather than flow free through your gutters and downspout, the slow melt can damage your roof and leak into your home.
Hanging icicles are also a hazard to you, your family, and any potential visitor. They can crack and fall at any time leading to severe injury or worse.
Plus, in the middle of a winter deep freeze, climbing a ladder and breaking up an ice dam yourself is dangerous. As ice coats the Wisconsin landscape, do you really think it’s wise to climb a ladder to free your gutters of an ice clog?
It’s not. Save yourself the trouble with a heated gutter system. These heated gutters are a cable system within your existing gutters that elevates the temperature.
These cables prevent freezing and keep ice dams and icicles to a minimum. They also keep you from venturing out in the middle of winter to break them up, where you run the risk of causing damage. Or causing yourself serious injury.
Clean Your Gutters
You should clean your gutters at least twice a year. It’s best to do this right before winter and then once again in spring, and especially important to do to make sure your heated gutter system works.
Clearing debris from your gutters before winter is the most important aspect of winter gutter maintenance for an important reason. Any caught debris adds weight to your gutters.
If you’re a new homeowner, you might not be sure how to clean gutters. It’s an easy task, but make sure when you start to have a pair of heavy-duty gloves to protect your hands.
Once you’ve scooped out all the dirt, twigs, and leaves, flush with your garden hose to ensure clean passage through your gutters and downspouts. This is also important to do so you can check for leaks.
If this sounds like a lot of work, consider an investment in metal gutter guards. These guards help keep the junk out so your heated cable system can better prevent ice damage.
Clean Your Roof
Once you’ve cleared your gutters, you need to clean your roof. This is an important winterization task for maintaining your gutters. All the debris on your roof will find its way to your gutters through the winter.
Look for any spots or valleys on your roof where debris gathers. This is not only important for keeping your gutters clear, but preventing water from pooling and leaking into your home.
The best way to clean your roof is to get up there with a broom. Though if you’re not of able body or if your roof slant is too steep for safe footing, it’s best to seek professional help.
Do an Inspection
After you’ve cleaned your gutters and swept your roof, it’s best to perform an inspection of your system. There are certain things to look for depending on the material your gutters are made from.
No matter what type of gutters you have, check to see if your gutters are attached properly. Look for gaps between the fascia and gutter. If you see one, that means your gutters are not secure and could fall.
Galvanized Steel Gutters
If your home has galvanized steel gutters, check for rust spots. These rust spots are most notable at the joints. Over time, these rust spots will become holes. Should you notice any rust spots, scrub it away with a wire brush.
After you’ve scrubbed the rust clean, coat the spot with a metal primer designed to protect this weak spot.
Aluminum gutters are more popular because they are more rust-resistant than galvanized steel. They still can corrode, and aluminum develops puncture holes easier.
Should you notice a hole during your winterizing inspection, you need to fix it right away. To do this, first clear away any corrosion with a wire brush. Then apply roofing cement and a piece of metal flashing.
Though vinyl gutters offer the best protection from rust and corrosion, they do tear or rip easier than steel or aluminum.
Luckily, the repairs are easy. If you see a hole or a rip, first measure the size. Then head to your local hardware store to buy a patch kit. These kits are common and inexpensive.
After you’ve purchased the patch kit, you’ll need to sand around the hole to ensure the kit adhesive sticks.
Heated gutters help prevent rust, corrosion, and tears in gutters of all materials. When liquid water turns solid, it expands. As it expands, it rips, tears, and damages your gutters. These damaged spots are where rust and corrosion occur.
A heated gutter system is a fantastic investment. It lengthens the life of your gutters while making your yearly inspection much easier.
Gutter Maintenance For Winter
No matter how diligent you are with gutter maintenance, ice will form. Ice can damage your gutters and your roof.
Not only that but clearing ice dams in the middle of winter can be dangerous.
Make sure to clean your gutters and check for weak spots. Better yet, guarantee clean, ice-free gutters with gutter guards and a heated gutter system. In the dead of winter, you don’t want to have to ask, “How much do gutters cost?”
If you’re preparing your home for a Wisconsin winter and need gutter guards installed, contact us today for a free estimate.