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You already have a smart home. I’m not talking about voice controlled lights or the thermostat changing temperature all by itself. I’m talking about your gutters. Your gutters are trying to tell you something. Are you listening?

Now that the worst of winter is hopefully behinds us, remember when the snow was piled high and the temperatures floated around the single digits. If you looked up at your home’s roof you probably saw a blanket of white with icicles dangling from the edges of your gutters. That’s the message your gutters were trying to send. It was basically an SOS about ICE.

The snow sitting on a hot roof slowly melts and travels down into the gutter, as it is supposed to do. The problem occurs when liquid travels off the roof and comes in contact with cold air in the gutter and freezes. The resulting buildup grows into what’s called an ice dam. More water and more cold air and the ice dam grows and grows. When gutters fill with ice the water drips over the edge, giving us the humble icicle. But that’s not where it stops. It is where the bigger problems really begin.

The buildup of ice can travel from the gutter, under the roof line and beneath the shingles of your roof. From there moisture can damage the deck boards and even travel into your home. Water has a bad relationship with drywall and plaster. Even in small amounts unwelcome moisture behind your walls and ceilings can harbor mold and mildew and even cause structural failure. Keeping water from where it should never be is the primary reason you need a comprehensive water management system in place.

Every home is different, and there is no single solution to an ice dam problem. Once you have a correctly designed and installed gutter system, you can look at several aspects of your attic. First there is insulation. Keeping the temperature of attic lower, means the roof is cooler. Less heat means less melting and less melting results in less ice. You can also increase air circulation in an attic with the correct placement and installation of ventilation. This often includes soffit vents along the eaves.

So take a moment and listen to your home, and get your mind into your gutters. With some planning, and the right improvements you can be on great speaking terms.

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