With spring approaching and temperatures getting warmer we thought this would be a great opportunity to talk about Ice Dams!
What are Ice Dams?
An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof which prevents melting snow from draining. The water that backs up behind the ice dam can leak into your home and cause damage to walls, floors, ceilings and other areas.
An ice dam forms when the roof over an attic gets warm and melts the underside of the snow. The water then trickles out past the warm and freezes. Warm temperatures also cause more issues as the already frozen water, under the snow, accumulates further and creates a dam that gets larger and works its way under the shingles.
The flatter the roof, the more accumulation can occur at the gutters. If gutters are full of snow, water accumulates and freezes giving the ice dam a good foundation.
What damage can they case?
When an ice dam is big enough, the melted water backs up behind it and seeps underneath shingles and into ceilings and exterior walls beneath the eaves, ruining drywall and paint. If an ice dam breaks free, gutters and shingles may fall with it and can damage things like shrubs, trees, windowsills or windows. The roof may stay wet and cause mold and mildew.
How do I remove an Ice Dam?
Use a blunt mallet or tool to break the ice dam free, in small chunks. *Be careful not to hit any gutters or shingles. You may want to hire a professional to do this*
Clean out gutters and downspouts. You can melt eaves troughs and spouts with Calcium Chloride ice melter. DO NOT use rock salt as it will damage paint, metals and plants below the melted salty runoff.
How can I prevent an Ice Dam?
Scrape snow off your roof with a roof rake or shovel the rooftop with a plastic shovel or broom. BE CAREFUL as each method has its downfall. Raking can bury you in snow and shoveling or sweeping may send you down the roof. Hiring someone with more experience might be the best way to go.
Replace your roof with a metal roof or replace the bottom three feet with a wide metal drip edge.
Ice dams will continue unless you can correct the underlying problem causing them. Most ice dams occur due to heat loss from your roof. The best way to correct this is to:
Insulate your attic
Vent between roof sheathing and insulation
Seal all points where warm air can escape - sealing your roof does two things: it prevents major ice damming and saves you heating costs as well. A win-win situation at best.