Frozen Downspout or Gutter? Here’s What You Should Do

Last Updated on November 5, 2022 by Mattias

Frozen downspouts and frozen gutters are common problems during the winter season for many homeowners.

The ice can cause massive problems and cost you a lot of money if you don’t take care of it.

But with this guide’s help, we hope you will find some method to help you.

We will go through all the best methods and what you can do to prevent this from happening again.

What Causes Frozen Downspouts?

If your downspouts get frozen and blocked with ice, the water won’t be able to escape the proper way. This is a common problem for homeowners during cold weather conditions.

When the winter sets, the settled water in your downspouts can freeze. Something important to know is that the elbows of downspouts are very vulnerable to ice buildup since water tends to settle there.

If the bottom mouth is blocked by snow, they tend to freeze also.

If you got frozen gutters and downspouts, you must take care of this as soon as possible.

Side Effects of Frozen Gutters and Downspouts

A frozen gutter or downspouts needs your immediate attention. When the winter weather and the cold sets, always watch and look for any minor ice buildup.

Because when the water starts to freeze, your gutter gets heavier from all the ice. Eventually, your gutters can pull away from your house, and this can cause permanent damage to the siding of your house and the roof. Even problems with poor drainage and water leaks can appear.

Also, ice-clogged gutters or larger ice dams can cause severe moisture problems. When the snow starts to melt on your roof, the water will have no place to go and can make the water go up under the shingles; this can give you leaks or mold growth.

Consider contacting professional services that care for frozen downspouts and gutters if any water damage has appeared on your house.

Prevent Downspouts From Freezing

Preventing your downspouts from freezing would be the best course of action. Here’s what you can do:

Use heat tape

Wrap them with heating tape since it can melt the ice and make the water flow as it should. Heat tape can also prevent ice buildups and ice dams.

Heat cable

Using a heating cable is an effective way to make the ice melt and a small investment since it doesn’t cost so much. You can put it down your downspouts, near the gutter, and along the roof. The cable is almost like heating elements in your house and can be a long-term solution for your home.

How to Install a Heat Cable

Remove debris

It would help if you did this as regular maintenance, but doing this can help your gutters when the cold weather hits.

Check for snow at the bottom of the downspout

Sometimes, a lot of snow can block the downspouts, so make sure the path for the water is clear.

Preparing for water freezes can make a big difference and avoid costly repairs on your home’s foundation. Using any of these methods for your home’s gutter system can be a good idea and might prevent the downspouts and gutters from freezing.

How to Fix A Frozen Downspout

Okay, so you haven’t prevented your downspouts from freezing. Don’t worry. Here’s a list that can help you.

But if you’re thinking about taking a baseball bat and hitting the outside of the downspout, don’t!

Brute force won’t solve this and will probably do more harm than good.

Use hot water

One way to remove the ice is to pour warm water into the length of your gutters and the downspout’s opening. You’ll need a ladder for this, but be careful, so you don’t slip.

Warm water can extensively remove ice blockage, but probably not the best long-term solution. It’s also possible to attach your water hose to the warm water and eliminate the ice.

The Stocking Method

This technique is quite effective and promising. Use calcium chloride to melt the ice, but don’t sprinkle it directly on your gutters since it can give stains on the aluminum and shingles. You can fill long socks or stockings with chloride and lay them on the ice.

Look over your attic isolation

I remember when we were renovating our top floor, and there was a small gap in the roof. The snow came, and when I looked at the side of my house, I saw giant heavy icicles. But as soon as we fixed the gap, I saw no icicles. So the best way would be to look and see if the heat is escaping anywhere in your house, and if it is. Cover it with something.

The rake method

Use a long-handled roof rake and clean the ice from your gutters.

Use a hair dryer or a heat gun

Probably not the best method, but at least they’re better than nothing. Use one of them to heat your pipes and try to make the ice melt. Point them on the elbows of your pipes since it can be stagnant water there.


Can I use rock salt to melt the ice?

No, rock salt can damage your gutters.

Do underground downspouts freeze?

They will freeze if they go below their minimum temperature of 20 degrees Fahrenheit.

Frozen Downspouts Summary

I hope you enjoyed this article about how to solve a frozen downspout.

As you discovered, there are many ways to solve it, but also excellent ways to prevent it from happening.

Suppose you start getting problems during harsh winters and feel helpless. Contact a professional and ask if they got any free inspection appointments.

Good luck! I hope you can use this article as a guide if you get problems.