Many people are under the misconception that Gutters cause ice dams. Ice dams are often caused by too much heat in the attic. If the temperature in the attic is above freezing and there is snow on the roof, the snow melts. When the snow melts, the water runs into the gutter. Since the gutter is not above the house where it can be heated, the water refreezes into ice. As the ice gets thicker and thicker, it stops the water as it comes down the roof which causes an ice damn. The water coming down the roof eventually backs up and doesn't refreeze because it is over the heated attic. As the water backs up behind the ice dam, it is pushed under the shingles and into the house. This can lead to roof damage, water damage in the home and can also cause the gutters to snap off of the house completely.
The best way to prevent ice dams and costly damage is to ensure that the attic in your home is properly insulated and also be sure to have your gutters cleaned properly in the fall or early winter before there is any snowfall. If there are any clogs in the gutters, it will prevent the water from flowing thru causing the water to build up and refreeze
Clogged gutters can be a problem during the winter season. If gutters are not kept clear of debris, your downspouts will be obstructed. The obstruction will cause rain, snow and ice to not be able to properly flow out of the downspouts as required which will lead to it freezing and blocking the entire gutter system. This problem can be prevented by ensuring the gutters are properly cleaned and free of debris prior to winter weather.
If downspouts are clogged and water is not able to flow thru, then it will accumulate in the pipes which can cause the downspouts to burst. As snow and water freeze, they expand and fill the space containing then. As more and more ice collects, the downspouts can begin to burst open which causes them to be ineffective at directing water away from your home. This can be prevented by making sure gutters and downspouts are properly cleaned in the fall.