Gutter Guards in Winter: Should You Remove Them?

Ace Gutter StaffLeaf Guards


With winter right around the corner, Utah homeowners are preparing for the most wonderful time of the year. Few things are as magnetic as a snow-covered home lit with Christmas lights and classic décor. It’s as picturesque as it gets. 

But despite their beauty, snow loads and ice dams do not a merry winter make. Although modern homes can withstand heavy amounts of snow, there’s still the risk of your roof collapsing from all the extra weight. Add ice dams to the mix, and you have the perfect recipe for disaster. 

Fortunately, gutter guards can be an ally.

3 Reasons to Keep Gutter Guards in the Winter

If you live in snowy Utah, everything on your roof should help keep it free of snow and ice. That’s where leaf gutter guards in Utah can come to your aid. Here are three reasons why gutter guard installation is a must in winter. 

1. Gutter Guards Keep Your Gutters Clog-Free

There’s nothing worse than a clogged gutter in winter. Clogged gutters will hoard water and freeze, becoming heavier than before. Once enough ice and debris accumulate, the fasteners might loosen and tear the entire thing away. 

Leaf guards keep dirt and debris out of your gutters, so they don’t clog. This proves especially beneficial in winter. 

2. Leaf Guards Strengthen the Gutter System

As you probably know, gutter guards in Utah strengthen and protect your gutter system and downspouts, preventing them from weighing down your fascia.

3. Guards Help Heat Cables Perform Better

Even the most efficient heat cables might falter when faced with large chunks of ice. Hence, if your gutters freeze over frequently, it’s best to use leaf guards and roof heat cables in tandem. The guards will reduce the amount of snow that enters the gutters, enabling the heat tape to melt it before it turns into an ice dam. 

When to Remove Gutter Guards in the Winter?

Let’s start by answering the million-dollar question, do gutter guards cause ice dams in the winter? 

Absolutely not.  

However, depending on the type of gutter leaf guard you use, they can make your problem worse. 

Not all leaf guards are made to withstand freezing temperatures. Some are incredibly prone to clogging and freezing over in icy conditions. And when that happens, you may experience icicles, damming, and drips inside your home. No one wants that! 

In case your home is susceptible to ice dams, we recommend you remove your leaf guards for gutters in the winter. Doing this will give you the time to solve the underlying issues responsible for the damming (for example, poor insulation in the attic). 

For areas receiving a ton of hail and snow, you must choose a leaf guard specifically designed to prevent ice dams. Otherwise, you may have to deal with expensive repairs down the road.  

Here are a few things to keep in mind when picking a leaf guard: 

  • The material should be durable and weather-resistant 
  • The guard must be easy to install and maintain 
  • The design must allow for proper drainage 

If you’re unsure which type of gutter guard to choose for your home, talk to a professional gutter guard installer like Ace Gutter Inc. We will assess your unique needs and suggest solutions that fit your situation. 

How to Winterize Your Gutters?

Even with leaf guards, it’s crucial to prep your gutters as winter approaches. The cold season is hard on your roof, and the last thing you’d want is a broken gutter added to your list of spring repairs.

That said, winterizing your gutters is no rocket science, provided you know where to start. Let’s walk you through a few tips to protect your gutters from ice damage. 

1. Clean Them Out

While leaf guards in Utah do a fantastic job at keeping foliage and out, they can’t block everything. Tiny debris may still percolate into your gutters and build over time. Additionally, rotting leaves on top of your gutter guards may breed moss, mold, and fungus- a significant threat to your home and health 

To prevent this from snowballing out of control, consider rinsing your gutters and guards in the fall. And if you can’t do this yourself, you can always call a professional gutter cleaning services company to take on the job. 

2. Trim Overhanging Trees

Trim any trees that hang over your roof to minimize the debris that fall into your gutters. Remember to prune long branches to prevent them from snapping off and landing on your roof. Before you do this, however, talk to an arborist to check whether a late-fall or early-winter trim will harm your trees.

3. Make Repairs Early

A damaged gutter can only hold out for so long. Check for wear and tear to make the necessary repairs before the winter season starts in earnest. Look for weak points in the gutter connections, and seal any cracks or leaks. 

Also, check that the hardware that attaches the gutter to the house- brackets, screws, etc.- is properly fitted. These elements support the gutters under the weight of the ice and snow.

4. Use Heating Cables

Gutter heating and roof ice-melt systems can work wonders in the winter months. It keeps water from freezing in the gutters and creates ice dams. This allows the snow on your roof to melt gradually, working its way toward the ground.

5. Conduct a Test Run

Ensure your gutters are functioning by running water through them with a garden house. If you find any leaves or clogs, contact a gutter cleaning specialist without delay. 

The Bottom Line

Installing leaf guards can be a great way to safeguard your gutters in the winter. Now that you know which guards to choose and how to prep your gutters for the ice and snow, you should have no trouble protecting your home from all kinds of weather damage. 

Don’t let clogged gutters ruin your winter fun! Choose from Ace Gutter Inc’s three gutter leaf guards to keep your Utah gutters and downspouts free from leaves, pine needles, and other debris. Contact us today to know more!