toronto home with frozen and clogged eavestrough problem

Winter Dangers of Frozen and Clogged Eavestroughs

Posted: 11/22/17 - Category: Eavestroughs & Gutters

Your gutters and eavestroughs play an important role in protecting your home. While well-maintained eavestroughs might be important for protecting your home, when gutters are poorly maintained, they can cause all sorts of problems.

The potential for problems with your eavestroughs and eavestroough downspouts increases as the temperature drops. As the cold weather approaches, it is important to make sure that your home gutter system is well maintained. This can prevent problems with the operation of the gutter system and it can also protect your home from the problems that can occur when your gutters and eavestroughs have problems.

Winter Eavestrough Problems

Toronto’s cold temperatures can cause all sorts of problems for the eavestroughs on your home. If they are not cleaned or properly maintained, this can expose the home and the gutters to additional risk.

One of the most common issues that can cause problems in the winter is eavestroughs that are clogged. To start, a clogged eavestrough will not be able to channel the water from snowmelt away from the home, and this can expose the home to the potential for water damage.

Frozen Eavestrough & Downspouts

As an additional point, the debris can be a problem for the integrity of the gutter system. If water is allowed to sit in the eavestrough, it can freeze when the temperatures drop low enough. When water freezes, it expands. This could cause the eavestroughs to buckle or it could even cause leaks. These problems are even more of a concern for homes that have vinyl gutters. The plastic gets brittle when it is exposed to cold temperatures, and this increases the potential for cracks and leaks.

Falling Eavestroughs

Another problem occurs when all of the dirt, debris and leaves mix with water and freeze. This large mass of crud can weigh a considerable amount. As this weight puts stress on the mounting hardware, the gutters and downspouts can get damaged and separate from the house.

Clogged and poorly maintained gutters also increase the risk of ice dams. Ice dams occur when the upper sections of the roof are warmer than the area near the eaves. The warmer sections melt snow and ice, and as the water runs down, it freezes again near the eaves. These ice dams can trap water on the roof and this could lead to leaks and damage to the construction of the roof.

Poorly maintained gutters can expose your home to all sorts of damage. It could lead to the need for gutter repairs, the possibility that you may have to replace your gutters prematurely and it can expose the roof, foundation and other components of the home to an increased risk of water damage.

Preventing Winter Eavestrough Problems

While all of these problems might be cause for concern, the good news is that most of them are preventable. By taking some simple steps to maintain your gutters and prevent problems, you can keep your gutters working as they should and prevent the issues that can occur during the winter. The following are a few tips for protecting your gutters and your home during Toronto’s winter.

Clean Gutters

The first and most important step is to clean your gutters before the cold weather comes. You should already be cleaning your gutters at least once a year, and fall is the ideal time to get the job done. By cleaning all of the leaves and debris from your gutter, you can make sure that they are ready to handle any snowmelt and you can also prevent the problems that may occur when water freezes in the gutters.

Inspect & Repair Gutters

Depending on the conditions to which they are exposed, you might need to clean your gutters more than once a year. During one of the cleanings, you should also take the time to inspect the gutters and eavestroughs for damage. Look for any cracks or leaks, check to make sure all of the joints are secure and check the hardware to make sure that the components are still fitted securely to the home. If you find any problems, get them fixed right away.

Don’t use Plastic Gutters

Due to the low cost, plastic gutters have become more popular in recent years. But as I mentioned before, the plastic gets brittle in cold temperatures. Vinyl gutters have a shorter lifespan than materials like aluminum and they are much more prone to damage. If you are getting new gutters, aluminum is a much better choice than plastic. They might cost a little more, but they are resistant to rust and they are much more durable.

Gutters on Every Roofline

Most newer homes have more roofline. You’ll have different areas of roof that overlap at places like the garage or in places where the ground floor extends out further than the second floor. Every section of roof needs gutters to channel the water away to a downspout. If you have sections of roof that do not have gutters, you should get them installed.

Prevent Ice Dams

You should also take some additional steps to prevent ice dams. Cleaning and maintaining your gutters is one step, but there is more that you can do. One of the main problems with ice dams is warm air from the home rising into the attic and warming the roof. Improving the insulation to your attic is one way that you can prevent ice dams. You should also consider venting the attic and sealing off any gaps that could allow warm air to move from the living area of the home and into the attic.

Consider Calling in the Pros

Gutter cleaning and maintenance can be hard work. In addition to being dirty work that takes a lot of time and effort, it can also be a safety hazard. For these reasons, a lot of homeowners put off cleaning and maintaining their eavestroughs longer than they should. If you want to prevent these types of problems, but don’t feeling like dealing with the work, you should hire professional eavestrough cleaners. These professionals can clean your eavestroughs and downspouts, and they can also inspect and repair your gutter system to prevent problems in the future.