How to Safely Thaw a Frozen Gutter

Frozen gutter

Right about now, with all the below-freezing temperatures, snow, melting, and re-freezing are plummeting Michigan, there are a lot of gutters out there that are frozen solid.

Whether some of your downspouts remained clogged with debris when winter hit or your gutters are just reacting to all the snow and cold – here’s how to manage them until it warms up again.

Strategies to Safely Thaw a Frozen Gutter

Don’t get out your hammers, ice picks or axes.

Sometimes gutters do freeze up completely, and people worry they are going to pull away from the house or cause a huge ice dam. So they try to chip out the ice themselves.

Chipping away at ice is dangerous, destructive, and futile. It’s very hard to remove an ice dam, and it’s very dangerous. That’s why ice dam removal companies carry insurance. It also can do a ton of damage to your gutters themselves which will cost you money to replace.

Sometimes, waiting is the best solution.

Ice dams are destructive. It is better to have good attic insulation to keep them from happening in the first place.

However, once they are there, it may be better to let them stay if there aren’t any leaks in your home. At least, it’s better than trying to do it yourself.

The ice and water shield that we put underneath your shingle layer does do its job of keeping moisture out of your home. But, of course, if it’s leaking inside, you do need to fix it right away.

Hire a professional

The only foolproof way to melt the ice in your gutter is to hire an ice dam removal company who will use steam to heat and melt the ice and clear your gutters.

You can also have a heating panel system installed.  It is like heat tape – which uses wires or heating elements that run the length of the gutter and downspout to prevent ice from ever building up. It can be expensive to install.


We always preach the importance of maintenance. However, this is one thing you can do yourself if and when the weather thaws out: check and unclog all your downspouts.

In addition, plan to have them cleaned every six months. Even if you don’t have trees that shed directly on your roof, you might be surprised by the debris that gets carried into your gutters by animals. And you won’t know unless you have them cleaned out.

Maintenance like this can make all the difference. Spend a little bit now to have it maintained. You won’t get a huge surprise in the middle of winter when you have to fix your whole roof.


There is no safe way for you to thaw your own gutters, unfortunately. If you are experiencing dripping from your roof, call a roofing professional to have it assessed. You may have to have the ice dam removed by a professional company before having your roof fixed.

Whatever your trouble, we are here to help in any way we can!

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