Ice Dams and Gutter Maintenance
You know those big frozen behemoths towering ominously over awnings and roofs on home after home in Chicago these days? They’re called ice dams and they form when your home’s gutters get clogged, trapping water, which in turn freezes when a Polar Vortex or a nice cold front comes an hovers over the city like they have this winter.
Ice dams are terrible for your home’s bones. They force water behind the siding into the home causing rotting wood and other invasive damage. They also tug away at your gutters, pulling them away from the home and worsening damage.
One good way to avoid ice dams and the damage they cause is good, solid gutter maintenance and care. Gutters should be cleaned at least twice a year. But they should always be watched for leaks and wear and tare.
If your gutters are above the first level roof of your home, you should probably call a professional. There is considerable danger when climbing a very tall ladder and working your way around a gunky, stubborn gutter clog. So if there’s any doubt about the safety of the height of your home’s gutters, call a pro.
If you do elect to clean your own gutters, be sure you have a sturdy ladder with a stabilizer so that you avoid denting your gutters. You’ll also need gloves, a garden trowel and, a mask and goggles (if your gutters are particularly filthy.
Maintenance: The first thing you want to do is check the gutter’s spikes, which fasten through the fascia behind the gutters. You should replace any spikes that have worked their way loose.
Check the gutters
all around the home noting any rust you see. If you are not prepared to replace rusted gutters, you’ll need to treat them so that they last as long as you need them.
Next, check the entire gutter system for leaks and holes. Once cleaned, you’ll want to fill those holes and reapply sealant where necessary.
Cleaning: Ensure your ladder is sturdy and has proper footing at all times. Scoop any mud, leaves and other gunk out of the gutter and once complete, rinse thoroughly aiming toward the downspout with a garden hose sprayer. Be sure to avoid spraying near the shingles of your roof so as to avoid upending them with the water pressure.
Next clean the downspout by washing thoroughly with a water hose. If there is a clog deep down where you can’t reach, try using a simple auger to loosen it up.
Once cleaned thoroughly and dry, you can replace loose caulk behind the gutter and seal up any leaks you noted while cleaning. Rust should be sanded and then primed and painted over with rust-resistant paint.
Finally, remember to check your gutters periodically for leaks and clogs, especially after rain storms. You will want to do a thorough deep cleaning twice a year, at least: In the spring is a great time and just before the winter hits to avoid those ice dams.
If you are looking for a Handyman Company in the Chicago area, please call Punch List at 773-935-7727 or click here to fill out our online request form