Q&A / 

Gutter Guard Systems and Icicles

NOTE FROM TIM CARTER: Watch VIDEO BELOW of an Ice Dam on my OWN HOME

DEAR TIM: After watching your review of the Mastershield Gutter Cover and getting several references in my local area, I had the product installed. It was installed over my existing gutters. With the latest snow and cold weather, I now have icicles along my gutters. We never had this problem before the gutter guards. Please advise us before we create roof leaks. Lea Ann B., St. Louis, MO

DEAR LEA ANN: Icicles on gutter guards is a very common complaint. I'm willing to bet you had the problem before to a slight degree, but you just didn't realize it. Before you installed the gutter guards, melt water would come down your roof and contact the cold gutter. I'm willing to bet that for years you had ice building up inside the gutter, but couldn't see it from the ground. The only way you would see it would be if the ice completely filled the gutter and then started to create the icicles you now see on top of the gutter courtesy of the new gutter guard.

Icicles hanging from gutters that have gutter guards installed. PHOTO CREDIT: Lea Ann Baker

Icicles hanging from gutters that have gutter guards installed. PHOTO CREDIT: Lea Ann Baker

Here's what's happening. The aluminum and stainless steel metals that make up the gutter guard get cold quickly. Because they are at the end of the roof, and in your case, hanging out away from the house, they can't get any warmth from the house.

Thin insulation where the roof passes over the outside wall, inadequate insulation over the entire ceiling of the house, sunlight, air temperatures above 32 F all contribute to the snow pack on the roof melting. This water is chilled to 32 F or below in most cases as it's flowing just under the snow pack.

Stop - Check this out! Hi, it's me, Tim Carter.
Do you want a bid on the same gutter guards I used on my home?
Click Here

If you do fill out the form at the MasterShield page, they pay me a very small commission.

This water can be below 32 F in certain situations and still liquid because it's moving. That happens all the time in the lake outside my house and in the stream that runs across my land. I've actually taken the temperature of the moving water and it's in the mid to low 20 F range but still liquid!

Another example of icicles hanging from gutters. PHOTO CREDIT: Tim Carter

Another example of icicles hanging from gutters. PHOTO CREDIT: Tim Carter

When that super-chilled water hits the cold gutter guard it immediately freezes. If the water flow down the roof is substantial, it doesn't take long for a significant ice dam to form.

To stop leaks from ice dams you have two choices. You can install an ice and water shield under the shingles on the lower 3 to 6 feet of your roof. The lower the slope of your roof, the higher up the roof this membrane must extend.

The second option is to starve the ice dams of their food supply. This means you have to use a snow rake and pull the snow off the roof at least 8 to 10 feet above the gutter guard line. This area of no snow works pretty well on sunny days to get the melting water to evaporate on the surprisingly hot shingles as it tries to make its way down to the gutters. I see that happen on my own roof all the time here in New Hampshire.

 

Another example of icicles hanging from gutters. PHOTO CREDIT: Tim Carter

Another example of icicles hanging from gutters. PHOTO CREDIT: Tim Carter

 

Stop - Check this out! Hi, it's me Tim Carter.
Do you want a bid on the same gutter guards I used on my home?
Click Here

If you do fill out the form at the MasterShield page, they pay me a very small commission.

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2 Responses to Gutter Guard Systems and Icicles

  1. Tim we are now able to heat MS with a 5 watt cable plugged into an outside outlet and eliminate Ice on the gutter guard. Is not a perfect solution (my price installed $5 a foot) since you have to heat up a down and over to the door or opening you wish to keep ice free. Am currently working on including a new German super glue to make installation a no brainer. Since this is not a heavy duty heat cable the thermostat driven device must be left on constantly. 80 feet=400 watts,

  2. Tim,
    Radiant barrier works great. Using a staple hammer I installed it on the inside of the roof (on the rafters). Our insulation is on the floor of the attic. House was originally built in 1959. Not only did our summer electric bills plummet but we have never has the ice damning which is seen in adjacent homes.
    Thanks for the video,
    Rob

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