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Does anyone know of any gutters that you can take off for winter snow and ice? Something that kind of snaps on and off? I think they would have to come off for about 4 months in the winter. I have a real bad water problem when it rains due to the way my 2 roofs come together.
Have you thought about getting the Leaf Guard-type gutters? They don't snap off, I don't think, but the leaf-guard part should help keep the snow & ice from building up in the gutter and pulling it off with sheer weight.
I don't know how much snow they get in Washington, but I lived in zone 5 and you could see ice dams a foot thick on some houses. Some kind of leaf guards are always a good idea if there are trees nearby, but they won't stop an ice dam from forming.
I'd be looking into a heavier-duty gutter and definitely heat tape or cables, at least for the area that has a problem. Heat tape is not expensive, but you might have to pay someone to climb up there and install it. You can have it wired so you turn it on only when the weather is bad, or some use a thermostat. It's cheaper than fixing the roof down the road.
Ice dams usually start forming where the walls meet the roof - the heat from the walls of the house rises and causes a freeze-and-thaw cycle that creates an iceberg on the roof above the gutters, then just gets bigger, tearing off the gutters or worse.
Thank you both. I don't have any trees above the house that I need to worry about leaves. That is interesting about where the freezing starts. At the wall. I never thought about it but yes, the roof has about a 15 inch overhang. I can see big problems. Is heat tape 110, or 220? I would imagine 110. I used to have that on my water pipes in the laundry which was in my garage. Is that the same type? And would you put it above where the wall is and then wind it all the way down to the end of the eave? Or would it be enough to run one line where the wall is?
It's usually run as a zig-zag maybe two feet wide accross the lower part of the roof, and I've seen it used in the gutters, too. It's about the same stuff as plumbing heat tape, but tougher to withstand UV radiation and weather, etc.
There's probably a lot of info on the web somewhere, different brands and all. The box stores probably have it also.