Rain gutters serve the invaluable function of collecting the large quantity of water that flows off the roof and directing it away from the foundation of the house. But they get clogged up with leafs and often get torn off the roof by sliding snow and ice.
We visited the installation of a system called the Gutter Helmet, a product that has been designed and perfected in our snow and ice laden country. This heavy gauge piece of metal slides up under the second row of shingles, hangs out to the edge of the rain gutter and then gently wraps back under, all supported by very strong brackets capable of support the snow and ice we have on our roofs. By covering the rain gutter, this keeps the leafs out, and it really does work as most leafs will stick to the roof when it is wet, and then blow away when it becomes dry, without settling in the rain gutter. Water running down sticks to the metal by the surface tension. In fact this particular company out performs most imitations because of it's patented ridges in the metal which helps the water to wrap under and fall off into the rain gutter. This gadget doesn't make less snow or ice on your roof, but it does direct all of this stuff right over the top of the gutter.
This is not a DIY product, but is always contractor installed. It has to be done right or it won't work, and since they guarantee no more gutter problems, they want to be sure that it is installed right. I really like this system for any problem gutters. You can contact the company to find the dealer nearest you, or to pick up a franchise if you are interested.
There are similar products on the market but this is the best of the add-ons placed over an existing rain gutter. www.GutterHelmet.com If you need a new rain gutter you are better off with Leaf Guard which is not an add on but a one piece new rain gutter. If you are looking for a simpler gutter insert that actually works, check out Gutter Filter.