Our little corner of California is known for its Mediterranean-type climate. Our summers are dry and warm while our winters are cooler with moderate amounts of rain. What we don't get here are snow and ice. Be glad about that, as both are bad news for gutters.
Of all the things that could potentially damage gutters, few are as destructive as snow and ice. Our friends in the upper Midwest and Northeast know that all too well. Comparatively speaking, our gutters here in California have it easy.
The whole point of installing gutters on a house is to channel rainwater away. Otherwise, it can cause erosion, foundation damage, and other problems. In northern climates where snow and ice are an annual problem, gutters are still helpful during the spring and summer. They don't do much in the winter.
Unfortunately for Northern homeowners, their gutters are at risk with every winter season. There are two big problems they need to contend with: ice dams and debris clogs. Both could result in significant and costly damage.
An ice dam is essentially a big block of ice that forms at the bottom of a roof, at the overhang. It forms as the result of snow melting, running down the roof, and then freezing again when it hits the gutters. Ice dams can be the result of fluctuating temperatures, poorly insulated attic spaces, or a combination of both.
Gutters are especially vulnerable to ice dams because of the weight and pressure the dams to apply. An ice dam that runs the entire length of a gutter system can pull the gutters right off the house. Again, we do not see that sort of thing here in the Tri-Valley. It is pretty common in the upper Midwest and Northeast.
Ice dams create a secondary problem for roofs. As ice builds up near the bottom, the water from melting snow above may have nowhere to go. Instead of continuing to run down, it seeps under-neath roofing shingles. The next freeze causes it to expand and, boom, you now have roof dam-age. It is not a good situation.
Ice dams are not a given on every house in the upper Midwest and Northeast. A well-insulated house is less likely to have ice dam problems. Still, if a homeowner goes into winter without cleaning the gutters, melting snow can get trapped in gutters clogged with debris. Then it freez-es and becomes one giant ice cube along the entire length.
The ice cubes you put in your drinks don't seem heavy at all. Do not let that fool you. A gutter filled with ice is quite heavy. It is a good candidate to break loose and fall to the ground. And even if it doesn't, dangerous icicles can form as a result of water overflowing the gutters.
Compared to what some homeowners in northern climates have to worry about, we have it a lot easier here in California. Still, that's no reason to not take care of your gutters. We encourage homeowners to clean the gutters annually. A cursory visual inspection during that cleaning is appropriate.
If you need gutter repair or you are looking for a complete rain gutter install, we can help. Rest assured that we treat our customers’ homes as if they were our own. We promise you'll get a quality job done right along with our commitment to top-notch customer service. You deserve no less, even if we don't have to deal with ice and snow.