Winter is the wettest season in Washington State, with an average of 5 to 6 inches of rain each month from November through January. Are your gutters ready? Learn more about winterizing gutters as you prepare for the changing seasons.
Should Gutters be Cleaned Before Winter?
Yes. Fall is the ideal time for gutter cleaning because this removes dead leaves, pine needles, and other debris before cold weather sets in. If you don’t clean your gutters, blockages can allow water to flow over the sides, eroding the soil below and threatening your foundation’s structural integrity. Basement flooding is another common side effect of clogged gutters.
Things get even worse if standing water freezes in your gutters. The ice may creep onto the roof, forming what’s known as an ice dam. When this happens, melting snow can’t drain, so it may flow under your shingles, leaking inside and causing water damage in the attic. Clean your gutters every fall—and again in the spring—to avoid these problems.
What Do You Do with Rain Gutters in the Winter?
Besides cleaning your gutters, here are other steps you can take to prepare your gutters for a wet Washington winter:
- Check your gutters for rust: The best gutter materials are corrosion-resistant, but rust can still occur in the damp Pacific Northwest. If you spot rusty areas, scrape them away with a wire brush. Then, apply a thin coat of roofing cement with a putty knife to protect against future rusting.
- Inspect the drainage situation: Step outside while it’s raining and watch your gutters in action. Does the rainwater flow freely or spill over the sides? Does any water linger in the gutters when the rain stops? Now’s the time to address these problems.
- Fix the slope: The fasteners attaching your gutters to the house may come loose over time, changing how the water drains. Adjust these fasteners to prevent water from pooling in the gutters.
- Install downspout extensions: Water should drain at least 6 feet from the house. If your downspouts aren’t this long, add affordable, flexible extensions to protect the foundation.
- Install a gutter cover: Avoid the hassle of cleaning your gutters twice a year by installing a gutter cover. This allows water to flow like normal while keeping leaves and other debris out.
- Apply gutter heat tape: If you’re concerned about your gutters freezing and forming ice dams, you can install heat tape to warm the metal just enough to prevent freezing, thus promoting fast snowmelt and protecting your roof.
For help preparing your gutters for winter, turn to High Point Gutter. We offer an affordable annual maintenance program to ease the stress of caring for your home. Along with convenient scheduling on your preferred dates, you also receive 10% off our quality gutter maintenance services. For more information or to sign up, please call us at (425) 449-6622 or contact us online today. Our gutter company has served Snohomish and King Counties since 2016.