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What to Do if Your Gutters are Frozen

Winter weather brings many challenges for homeowners, and one of the most common issues during this season is frozen gutters. When ice accumulates in your gutters, it can lead to a host of problems, including water damage and roof issues. In this article, we will explore what to do if your gutters are frozen and offer solutions to prevent and address this common winter predicament.

1. Safely Assess the Situation

Before taking any action, ensure your safety. Icy conditions can be treacherous, so exercise caution. Use sturdy ladders with non-slip feet, and consider wearing ice cleats for added stability. Keep someone informed about your activities in case of an emergency.

2. Remove Snow and Ice Buildup

The first step in dealing with frozen gutters is to remove the snow and ice that’s causing the problem. Use a roof rake or a long-handled brush to clear excess snow from your roof’s edge. This helps prevent additional ice from forming in your gutters.

3. Melt the Ice

To melt the ice inside your gutters, you have several options:

  • Hot Water: Boil water and pour it into your gutters. Be careful not to spill hot water on yourself or the roof.
  • De-Icing Salt: Spread a de-icing salt or calcium chloride along the gutter to melt the ice. Avoid using rock salt, as it can damage your gutter materials.
  • Electric Heat Cables: Install heat cables along your gutters and roof edge. These cables generate heat to melt ice and prevent further buildup.
  • Ice Melt Tablets: Drop ice melt tablets into the gutters. These tablets work similarly to the de-icing salt but are designed for gutter use.

4. Clear Debris

While addressing the ice issue, take the opportunity to remove any debris from your gutters. Leaves, twigs, and other debris can restrict water flow and contribute to ice dam formation.

5. Insulate and Ventilate

To prevent future gutter freezing, ensure your attic is properly insulated and ventilated. Adequate insulation helps keep your attic and roof cold, reducing the likelihood of ice dams forming. Proper ventilation ensures that warm, moist air is vented out of the attic, preventing the conditions that lead to ice buildup.

6. Install Gutter Guards

Consider installing gutter guards to keep debris out of your gutters. These guards prevent clogs and make it more challenging for ice dams to form. There are various types of gutter guards, so choose one that suits your climate and budget.

7. Monitor and Prevent Ice Dams

Ice dams often lead to frozen gutters. To prevent ice dams, make sure your attic is adequately insulated and ventilated. You can also use a roof rake to remove snow from your roof after each snowfall to minimize the risk of ice dams forming.

8. Seek Professional Help

If your gutters remain frozen despite your best efforts, it may be time to consult a professional. Roofing experts can assess the situation, identify any underlying issues, and offer more advanced solutions such as ice dam removal and gutter repair or replacement.


Frozen gutters can be a real headache during the winter, potentially causing costly damage to your home. By taking proactive steps to prevent ice dams and addressing frozen gutters promptly, you can protect your property and enjoy a worry-free winter. Remember that safety is paramount, so exercise caution when addressing these issues yourself, and don’t hesitate to seek professional assistance when needed. A well-maintained and ice-free gutter system is essential for a healthy and well-protected home.

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