If you live in a cold-weather climate within the U.S., such as the midwest or northeast, Fall has turned into deep Winter. For many of us, that means more time spent at home, cozied up with a hot cup of coffee, while avoiding the crisp winter air.
However, that does not mean your rain gutters get to share the same interior enjoyment. While you’re inside getting warm, your rain gutters are taking a beating from all the heavy ice weighing them down.
Winter gutter maintenance is just as critical as any other season. What makes the Winter period worth discussing, is the level of safety involved.
Safely Cleaning Your Gutters During Winter
If you are the type of DIY homeowner, and you’ve taken on the responsibility of cleaning your rain gutters yourself, bravo! We applaud hard-working Americans who want to get their hands dirty (so to speak) and work on the care and maintenance of their gutters themselves… but DIY gutter cleaning is dangerous, especially in the winter. The key to gutter safety is always to stay off the ladder completely and get professional help. However, if you plan to clean your gutters yourself this winter, please be cognizant of the following dangers, and note our recommended safety protocols.
- Remember that every other time you clean your gutters during the year, you’re likely picking out leaves, debris, and other matter with your hands. Although these leaves could be wet from rain, they certainly aren’t frozen like snow and ice. Plan to use a scooper to fetch the ice and snow out of the gutters, rather than using your hand. Using your hand to retrieve snow leads to you losing feeling in your fingers, which could make working on a ladder, or being on the roof more dangerous. In a less extreme concern, that type of exposure to snow and ice could lead to getting a cut on your hand, if you are not careful.
- Furthermore, bring another object to chip any icicles off the rain gutter while you’re up there. This doesn’t have to be anything too specific, as something like a small metal camping shovel would do. Just remember, you don’t want to use your hands, even with gloves, to remove snow, ice, and icicles.
- We hate to state the obvious, but if you’re dealing with the ice and snow in your gutters you are likely dealing with it on the ground as well. Always use a ladder when attending to your gutters, and during winter, make sure to wear rubber-soled shoes to try and limit any slipping or sliding.
What to Look for When Cleaning Your Gutters in Winter
If you follow the safety protocols outlined above, you can feel a little better about the position you’re putting yourself in to clean your gutters during winter. Once you’re up there, make sure to inspect each of the following:
- First, check for any obvious damage. Whether it’s a hole in the gutter, rotting, or a clog, make sure the obvious damage gets noted and addressed immediately. This should include removing as much as you’re able to remove out of the gutters (aka cleaning).
- Then, check to see if any water is pooling. You don’t want any pooling water in the gutter system, because that means it is compromised. After all, gutters are supposed to make water flow out of the gutter system.
- Third, check to see if there is any seepage. Inspect all gaps and seams between the gutter and the fascia to see if any water is leaking through.
- Once you’ve had a chance to audit all of these aspects of your rain gutters, it’s time to decide how you want to address any issues.
Ned Stevens: A Trusted Rain Gutter Maintenance Company
If after you’ve identified all of the issues with your rain gutters, you’re concerned about fixing the problems yourself, call Ned Stevens at 800-542-0267. We are a trusted, and national rain gutter maintenance company, who have worked on more gutter systems during winter than we can remember.
If the issue feels complicated, like one of your gutters has an ice dam, we would strongly urge our clients to give us a call. A complicated issue during the most difficult time of the season to clean a gutter is a recipe for a disaster, and Ned Stevens has insured professionals ready for same-day maintenance.