If you have gutters attached to your home, then these gutters help to channel water away to reduce water damage around your roof and your foundation. Gutters do need to be cleaned regularly. However, you should not have to clean them constantly during the winter months to get rid of the ice and snow that builds in the metal channels. If you find that your gutters become congested and heavy with ice and snow, then you should prepare early to prevent this problem. Keep reading to learn about a few things you can do.
Use A Non-Stick Spray
Snow and ice tend to stick to metal surfaces. You probably understand this if you regularly inspect your shovels, locks, vehicle undercarriages, and your gutters during the winter. Metal is a good conductor of heat, and this means that it pulls heat out of the water that comes into contact with it. The water then freezes onto the metal and builds. While you cannot stop metal from conducting heat, you can add a coating to your gutters and other surfaces to force ice and snow to slide off the metal instead of sticking to it. This is a good solution to keep icicles from forming around the gutters and to help ice and snow slip off the gutters.
To add your coating, purchase a fluoropolymer spray from your local home store. These sprays contain a polymer solution with long and strong fluorine and carbon bonds that create a non-stick surface. The spray has a similar composition as Teflon, and this means the material is resistant to penetration from liquids, oils, solvents, and chemicals. Fluoropolymer sprays are typically clear as well, so they will not ruin the appearance of your gutters.
Get a thorough gutter cleaning in October or November and spray a generous amount of the non-stick spray coating on the inside and outside of your gutters. One application is typically enough, but inspect your gutters near the end of winter and add some more of the spray if snow and ice start sticking to the metal channels.
If you do not want to purchase a special spray for your gutters, you can use a non-stick cooking spray. Also, a layer of beeswax inside the gutter can prevent ice from sticking. These types of non-stick applications will likely need to be reapplied several times throughout the winter though.
Add A Heat Cable
Another good way to keep ice from building inside your gutters is to make sure they are too warm for ice to form in the first place. Gutters can be warmed with the assistance of a heat cable. Heat cables are long insulated thermoplastic cables that contain a heating element. The element heats up the thermoplastic material and the heat is transferred to the ice that comes into contact with the cable.
Purchase a long run of the heat cable making sure that you have purchased one for outdoor use. Also, you want to buy a self-regulating product that uses a thermostat to turn on and off. This type of product will use less electricity and it it will also reduce the fire risks that are associated with constant electric tapes.
Plug in the tape and make sure the temperature sensor sits directly against the bottom of the gutter. Run the tape along the length of the gutters and down into the downspout as well. This will help to create a channel where water can drain from the gutters even in the coldest weather.
Preparing for the winter is a great way to make sure that your gutters remain free and clear of ice, snow, and other debris throughout the coldest months. If you want more tips on how to care for your gutters, contact a gutter installation and cleaning professional.