Snow storms and subsequent above freezing temperatures are the perfect combination for ice dams. Ice dams can cause damage to your home and result in expensive repairs. Save yourself the headache of dealing with the issue by keeping these prevention tips in mind.
HOW ICE DAMS FORM
As snow starts to melt from the top of your roof, it doesn’t always flow smoothly off. It is common for snow to build up along the bottom edges of your roof and refreeze, essentially building a dam. As additional snow melts, it gets caught against this dam and has nowhere to go except under your shingles and into your home. Seepage is not limited to the outer walls of your home. Water can travel along different beams into your walls and down to your ceilings.
WAYS TO PREVENT ICE DAMS
Homes with gutters are most prone to ice dams. Gutters can fill up with debris and block water flow. Keeping your gutters clear is the first step to preventing ice dams.
Insulate your attic
Poor attic insulation is a common cause of ice dams. Why? Poor insulation in the attic allows heat from your home to escape through the roof. This melts the snow at a faster than normal rate. If you take a look around your neighborhood, you may see some homes with lots of snow while others have almost none remaining on roof tops. Homes with little snow typically have less insulation than those with more snow.
Monitor the situation
Pay close attention to the snow accumulation on your roof. If you see snow or ice start to build up just along the edges, address the situation. For lower roofs, use a snow rake to brush the snow off. For high roofs, consider hiring a company that specializes in roof snow removal. Avoid using a blow torch to melt the snow since that can actually damage your roof shingles.
Damage from ice dams
If ice dams cause water leaks into your home, it is important to address and repair the damage as soon as possible. Some areas may simply need to be dried out, whereas others may require replacement of damaged materials. Do not allow areas to remain wet as this can be conducive to mold. For extensive damages, contact your homeowner’s insurance company to discuss whether it makes sense to file a claim.
Preventing future issues
If you do experience damage from ice dams this winter, make a plan to prevent future issues. This may involve installing gutter covers, adding insulation to your attic, or other measures to minimize snow buildup along the roof’s edge. Proper planning during the off-season can save you from a repeat incident next winter.