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Stamford Roofing: Article About Gutter Problems

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Ice dams within the gutters are the cause of many wintertime roof leaks. They are also responsible for structural problems related to weakening and rotting of the roof's substructure. In the most severe cases, an ice dam can even cause ceilings to cave, gutters to fall off and foundations to leak. While waiting for a local Stamford roofing expert to arrive on the scene, homeowners may want to try some other methods to help melt the ice and get the water flowing away from the house once again.

One commonly used method to melt stubborn ice dams is using hot water. To do this, the homeowner hooks a long garden hose up to the hot water supply within the house. The hose may need several extensions in order to reach the affected gutters. Attach a spray nozzle to the end of the hose to avoid the need to climb up to the rooftop in the absence of professional grade rigging. Aim the stream of the running water at the bottom of the gutter. This only works on metal gutters as they are able to conduct heat. Do the area closest to the downspout first so that the melting water can drain.

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As this area of ice melts, continue working in the opposite direction from the downspouts. Boiling water should never be poured into the gutters or on the rooftop, as it may burn the person carrying it. The high temperature may also damage the gutters, shingles and other parts of the roof. After the homeowner is done with the hose, it should be disconnected so the water doesn't freeze within it.

While hot water does melt ice, it is a slow method. On subzero days, even the hot water may freeze as soon as it touches the ground, creating a dangerous condition for the property owner. If possible, the hot water method should be used with a combination of other techniques, such as the use of ice melt or deicer salts that can be tossed onto the roof's edges. These materials can be loaded into an old nylon stocking and slung onto the ledge of the roof to help melt icy spots on a sunny day.

When a homeowner chooses the water technique, it is important to avoid the use of any electrical methods of melting ice. This means that heating cables, tape strips or wires should not be applied to the gutters due to the risk of electrocution. Property owners should also avoid walking on the roof's slippery surface to chip or shovel off the now and ice.

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