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Heated Gutters vs Larger Roof Issues

Hi All,

Could use some advice? I have ice dam issues. I'm wondering if heater gutter systems are recommended or is it really just treating the symptom vs the root cause.

Any advice would be most appreciated!

Long Island NY

Re: Heated Gutters vs Larger Roof Issues

Impossible to say without knowing things like the style and age of your home, what your ventilation/insulation setup is right now, the directional orientation of your home, exactly where on the house you're getting ice dams, and under what ambient conditions it's happening. If it is downcast for several days after a heavy snow and all the snow is disappearing from your roof before it disappears from your neighbors' roofs and from other surfaces, my answer might be different than if this is only happening when it snows and then gets really sunny out the next day and everybody on your block gets them on the southeast facing side of the house.

If your roof is as well designed and installed as it needs to be and your gutters are properly aligned and adjusted, but you just ran into one of those perfect storm situations where you were going to get an ice dam no matter what, then yes some sort of heating setup is an option.

Also realize that although the roofing and gutter industry wants you to believe even one single icicle on your gutters is a catastrophe, that isn't necessarily the case. The record low temps and repeated heavy snow in much of the country this year have created several 'perfect storm' scenarios that have caused ice damming and water infiltration that wouldn't normally happen. It's going on with houses that have probably gotten ice dams every year since they were built that nobody really took notice of because they were never bad enough to cause leaks in the home. People only just took notice and googled what they are because the conditions this year have caused them to be worse than usual. Under a lot of normal circumstances you can get some minor icing here and there and it isn't a problem as long as the ice and water shield goes at least a few feet up from the eves and you don't undergo a really long, drawn out, repeated freeze/thaw cycle. I have had frequent light ice build up on my gutters throughout the winter on the side that gets strong sun exposure and so has pretty much everybody else on this block of 100-plus year old homes. We have not had leaks and neither have our neighbors that I have been made aware. So you have to weigh how severe they get and determine if they are always happening in one particular spot to know whether it is bad enough to require something more than just getting out there with a roof rake after a heavy accumulation.

Re: Heated Gutters vs Larger Roof Issues

Thanks. Appreciate the thoughtful response.


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