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Oxford Court
Neighborhood News
Frozen Gutters and Ice Damming
Posted on Feb 15th, 2021
We would like to take this opportunity to provide some information about frozen gutters and ice buildup, which you may be observing on your homes right now. You are certainly not alone, as our office has been reviewing identical situations for about a week.
We are seeing ice damming or frozen gutters in almost half of our communities! For my clients, this is affecting homes that are 2 years old and up to 35 years old, with a variety of roof styles (some even have 6” gutters). I’ve talked to numerous roofers, a restoration company, and an insurance adjuster about this over the past week. It is simply a weather phenomenon and cannot be prevented (except maybe with heat cables on the roof and gutter installed in fair weather as prevention). The weeks of below freezing (or just at freezing) temps and multiple storms have led to a freeze-thaw-refreeze cycle perfect for backup of ice. The gutters are not blocked nor have debris (just ice). The gutters are full, frozen, and not taking on any more roof melt – it runs over top of the gutter onto the ground making icicles, freezing entire doorways over, and making the pavement underneath the gutters very dangerous. We are having this conversation with many residents and Boards right now. Roofers will not melt the gutters using a heat gun or torch because it is damaging, goes against recommended industry practice, and will only be effective for about a day or two in this weather. Using melting accelerants in the gutters, like calcium chloride, is also discouraged because it can cause rapid thawing then refreezing, to a point you might not know a leak is even happening (if there is one, we all want it to be discovered as soon as possible). All of the different professionals I previously mentioned recommended waiting for natural thawing. Between now and then, ice damming could occur, water could go under the shingles, and cause interior damage. I know that is everyone’s worse nightmare, but in homes with perfect construction, it still happens based on the weather. There is not much owners nor HOAs can do to combat this in the moment. We are sending out maintenance requests (for hanging/detached gutters) and asking the vendors to make repairs a high priority as soon as weather permits for safety and efficacy. As of now, it can’t be avoided and the advice to residents is to monitor their interior roof lines for water.
If you have a leak, please report it immediately to your insurance and to the Association. Again, there is no immediate action that can be taken other than mitigation when a leak is occurring from ice damming and the roof and gutters are still frozen. Responsible roofing companies will not go on roofs until it is safe and will not employ thawing practices that increase damage. I am working with a few residents in this scenario now; they are soaking up water and waiting for a full thaw (it gets worse before it gets better, to be honest). The recommended course of action is to use towels and buckets to absorb water and a restoration company is usually engaged to use heaters and blowers to dry the interior. Insurance and restoration companies will be needed to take care of the rest once fully thawed! Of course we always want to avoid damage when possible, but sometimes it is out of everyone’s control. Thank you for being vigilant in this matter. I am truly sorry if this adds to your concern, but this is the absolute truth of the situation. We are here to work with you and help you mitigate these issues as much as possible.
Please use caution on all outdoor pavement surfaces. The pavement under gutters will remain dangerous even with multiple snow removal treatments if the forecast is correct. Ice accumulation requires some time and difficulty to clear, as well as beneficial weather (everyone think sunshine!).

Oxford Court Condo Association
c/o Rj Community Management
4900 Perry Highway 
Building 1, Suite 300
Pittsburgh, PA 15229
Phone: 412-550-0003
Fax: 412-227-9003

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