We usually don’t have too much snow here in Kansas City, but winter storms usually come with ice and sleet. Sometimes those storms result in beautiful, glistening icicles all over your home and trees. Icicles can be pretty, and may make your home look like it could be on the cover of a magazine. However, frozen gutters and downspouts blocked by ice can cause serious problems for homeowners well into the spring.
Should you wait and see, or DIY?
You might think the right answer is the do-it-yourself approach, but unless you’re a professional with the right equipment and aren’t concerned about climbing a ladder amid snow and ice, you’d be making the wrong choice. There aren’t a lot of times when a professional will tell you their best advice is to wait and see, but unless the ice build-up is pushing back on the roof and getting under the shingles and protective water barrier, taking a wait and see approach is the best answer.
Back away from the hammer and put down the ice pick
You might think you’re helping yourself out by getting up there and chiseling and chipping away at the ice build-up, but you won’t be able to see the actual damage you’re doing to your gutters until Spring when the snow melts and April showers start their seasonal beating.
If you insist on having something done about the snow and ice that’s building up, you can call a professional handyman service to come out with a steam system to use hot water to flush the gutters and downspouts. This type of service can cost anywhere from $500 to $1000, sometimes more depending on the size of the home and the number of gutters that need servicing. The cruel joke about Mother Nature is that it could snow the very next day, and the ice build-up will begin again.
You also don’t want to try pouring salt or putting chemical ice melts in your gutters and downspouts because if there’s any debris build-up from earlier in the year, the clog isn’t going to go away by applying salt or ice melt.
When you shouldn’t wait any longer
The time to take action is when you see your gutters pulling away from the eaves of your roof or if the snow and ice have started pushing against the shingles on the roof. If the shingles are becoming damaged and moisture or actual water damage is happening, you don’t want to wait until you need to replace your roof, as well as the gutters. Are you noticing any water spots on the walls, ceilings, or in the corner angles inside your home? That would indicate there is water leaking under the protective barrier beneath the shingles and you’ll want to call a professional handyman service out to check what needs to be repaired before it becomes too costly.
Once you make the decision to do something that will keep you from having to worry about frozen gutters you can invest in a heated panel system for your gutters. This is simply a system where heating elements run the whole length of the gutter system and downspouts; it keeps the metal gutter warm enough that the water doesn’t freeze, and will flow freely. Of course, there is the initial investment cost which averages around $750 depending on the size of the gutter system; and the slight increase to your electric bill in the winter, along with maintenance and upkeep.
Whatever you decide, call a pro
About the only thing you don’t need a professional for is if you’re taking the wait and see approach, but even then, it doesn’t hurt to ask a professional for advice or an estimate on cleaning or installation so you can decide what’s best for your situation. Schloegel Handyman Services can help with cleaning, repairs, or new gutter installation; they are a trusted resource for smart decisions to help save you money over the lifetime of your home.