Home 9 Roofing 9 Ice Dams

A Winter Wonderland Can Mean Winter Woes For Your Home

The first snowflakes of a winter storm are a beautiful powdery white dusting. And then the snow starts to accumulate on your sidewalk, on your driveway, and on your roof. Soon after, icicles begin to form along your gutter. 

This may look like a picturesque winter scene, but in fact, it’s a warning sign that you probably have an ice dam. The phenomenon known as ice damming is a vicious winter cycle that can ruin your shingles, destroy your gutters, and allow water to leak into your home. 

What is an Ice Dam?

An ice dam is a block of ice that forms at the edge of your roof and in your gutters, which prevents water from draining off your roof. Instead, the gutters freeze over, trapping water inside the ice. The water forces its way under your shingles and into your home. 

How Does an Ice Dam Form? 

Ice dams form due to a lack of insulation and ventilation in your attic. In an ideal world, the roof is a cold space, and the snow naturally melts from the top down, draining into the gutters and down the downspouts.

Ice damming occurs when warm air gets into your attic from the living spaces inside your home. That warm air begins to melt the snow from the bottom instead of the top. The water drains to the edge of the roof and then meets cold air, where it refreezes in your gutter. Eventually, your gutter fills up with ice. Once the gutter can no longer function, the ice backs up onto the roof, trapping water inside the ice.  

The trapped water has no place to go, so it forces up under the shingles. Once the water backs up into your shingles, the water leaks into your attic and walls. 

Are Ice Dams Bad?

Ice dams may look pretty, but in fact, they’re very dangerous to your home. From wet, damaged insulation to sagging ceilings and walls to damaged gutters and shingles, ice dams can wreak havoc on your home. 

Ice dams are the number one winter cause of roof leaks, so it’s important to know the signs of an ice dam and how to prevent ice damming.

Ice Dam Removal

Do you have an ice dam? There are a couple of ways to remove ice dams temporarily. Unfortunately, until you fix the ventilation and insulation issues that are allowing hot air to build up in the attic, you will continue to have ice dams. 

Using ice melt or pouring hot water over the ice will help melt it enough so that the gutters start working properly. 

You can also gently rake or brush the snow off of your roof, being careful not to disturb the shingles. 

While both of these options work in the short term, the ice dam will eventually reform unless you take steps to prevent the ice dam. 

The easiest way to remove an ice dam is to contact a professional who will remove the ice dam, fix the leak, and suggest ways to prevent the ice dam from reforming. 

Preventing Ice Dams

The first thing you can do to prevent ice dams is to add insulation to your attic.  You may also require ventilation, such as a ridge vent on your roof.  A professional can evaluate your situation and tell you how to best prevent ice dams. 

You can also help prevent ice dams by making sure your gutters are clean. Sticks, leaves, and debris can help clog the gutters, giving the ice even less room to melt. 

Keeping the snow off your roof is another way to prevent ice dams. 

Ice Damming

Ice damming is a serious problem for homeowners over the winter. Keep a look out for long icicles on your roof, frozen gutters, and other signs of ice damming. Increasing your insulation and ventilation is the best way to solve the issue. 

Think you have a roof leak or an ice dam? Contact Volpe Enterprises today. 

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