Gutters Freezing Up

I just moved into a new house in IA. We had our first bad ice storm of the year, and one section of my gutters froze up and some water backed up into the house.
Would gutter covers fix this problem, or should I install a heating element in the gutter?
Thanks, Dan
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I understand ice damming is the issue. There is much to read on this subject.
What is an ice dam? An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents melting snow (water) from draining off the roof. The water that backs up behind the dam can leak into a home and cause damage to walls, ceilings, insulation, and other areas. See the following link: http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/housingandclothing/DK1068.html
There are solutions. Read on. Good luck. Peace.

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New & Improved - N/F John wrote:

Might just be a plugged gutter. Clean it out. I have never seen a gutter cover that worked like it should.
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On Dec 1, 6:16 pm, "New & Improved - N/F John"

I don't think it is an ice dam. An Ice dam looks like there would be ice completely covering the end of the roof and gutter. The problem I have is near freezing water flowing down the roof and slush buildup in the gutter itself, which is preventing water to flow to the downspout.
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I doubt it's a ice dam also...you wouldn't get an ice dam from a single ice storm. You need substantial snow on the roof that melts near the eaves and freezes once it gets in the gutters.
Have you checked the gutters for debris? (first guess) Or for the proper drainage angle? (long shot)
Covers *might* prevent debris from blocking the gutters but you have to find out if that's the problem first. Ice melt wires could help...they prevent ice dams at my house. We'll, actually, they prevent *major* ice dams. I still get some icicles which indicates damming, but haven't had water in the house since I put them up. However, since we don't think you have ice dams at this point, they still might prevent the gutters from freezing up.
On the other hand...ice storms are a strange animal and can cause symptoms that might not happen under "normal" winter conditions. Is IA subject to a lot of ice storms? If so, you certainly should determine the root cause of the probelm and get it taken care of.
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problem is the lack of insulation in the attic / roof. heat from the house is melting the snow , then it refreezes in gutter. add insulation, then when the outside is above freezing it all melts
On Sat, 1 Dec 2007 15:09:46 -0800 (PST), lagman

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bill wrote: > problem is the lack of insulation in the attic / roof. heat from the > house is melting the snow , then it refreezes in gutter. add > insulation, then when the outside is above freezing it all melts >
His problem, from the OP's own words, sound like it is a result of clogged gutters, not lack of insulation.
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lagman wrote:

I sympathize, Dan.
I'm in the same ice storm and understand what you're saying about the gutters. I don't think it was preventable. It's no ordinary ice dam and I doubt it's preventable by the usual ways you'd prevent an ice dam, i.e., more insulation and ventilation in the attic.
Also, I can't see how gutter covers would prevent it -- in fact, it seems to me that they may make the problem (water backing up-roof under the shingles) more likely to occur. They'd be just one more obstruction to the water draining.
Maybe a heating element would help but . . . I really believe, in this kind of storm, if you have gutters they're going to get clogged with the quantity of freezing sludge we got and water will tend to back up under the shingles.
About the only thing you can do is be sure the next time you have your roof done that ice and water shield (there are many brands, original was "Grace Ice & Water Shield") is put on the roof decking at the eaves and valleys. It comes in 3ft wide rolls and should be applied so that it covers the roof decking at least 2 ft up-roof from where the house wall meets the roof.
That's just my 2 cents; I know it doesn't help much with your current predicament.
Good luck, Dan. This really is pretty unusual for Iowa.
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lagman wrote:

Don't do anything (at least not until spring), it will warm up tomorrow and probably will not happen again for a year or two. I am in SE Iowa and it is already up to 40 degrees F at 9:00 PM. Sure was a mess earlier and it was the first day of deer season. :-(
Don
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