What are Ice Dams and how to prevent them?

ice dam prevention

Your roof and attic spaces form some of the most significant structural components of your home. These areas house HVAC systems and home electrical components and protect against the elements. Thus, avoiding complications with your attic and roof structure plays an essential role in protecting your home from expensive damage.

During winter seasonal temperature extremes, snow and ice can accumulate on your roofing and cause serious issues like an ice dam. Solid snow and ice can cause leaks in your home, leading to significant water damage and structural problems. Learning about ice dam causes and prevention can save you money and frustration.

What Are Ice Dams?

Many homeowners wonder, “What is an ice dam?” Ice dams form because excess snow remains on your roof for too long. When the snow melts and refreezes, it creates a solid barrier known as an ice dam that can cause damage to your home’s structure.

What Is An Ice Dam

The Effects and Causes of Ice Dams

Knowing the effects and causes of ice dam roofs can help you protect your home from long-term, expensive damage.

After significant snowfall, the warmth from your attic might melt roof snow. As melting snow slides off your roof, it can remain stuck in eaves and gutters. Within these structures, the snow no longer interacts with the indoor warmth that caused the melting. Thus, cold air refreezes it.

When cold air refreezes melted snow, it creates a barrier known as an ice dam. These dams prohibit melting snow from exiting your roof through gutters and eaves, which can lead to leaks, mold growth, and water damage within your home. Additionally, ice dams can damage the external structure of your roof, loosening roofing shingles and gutters.

Ice Dams Prevention Methods

Considering the potential problems caused by ice dams, learning ice dam remedies may help you avoid critical damage to your home’s structure. Although an ice dam roof might display beautiful icicles, preventing home damage is more essential. Also, remember that the appropriate solutions for an asphalt roof may not address the problem on a metal roof ice dam, so adjust accordingly.

Short-Term Prevention Methods

Short-term prevention may help avoid ice dam formation after a significant snowfall. However, these solutions require immediate action to prohibit ice dam formation.

Some of the best short-term ice dam prevention methods include:

  • Immediately rake excess snowfall off your roof: Getting snow off your roof after heavy snowfall removes the possibility of an ice dam forming. Since snow won’t have the chance to rest on your roof and melt from indoor warmth, ice dams won’t threaten your indoor roofing structure.
  • Blow cold air into the attic with a box fan: Another short-term ice dam roof prevention solution includes placing a box fan within your attic that blows cold air onto the underside of your roof. Cooling down indoor air with a box fan will keep snow on your roof but prevent it from melting and becoming an ice dam. Box fans offer one of the most cost-effective solutions.
  • Melt forming dams with calcium chloride salt: If ice dams start forming too quickly, try melting them with calcium chloride salt. Calcium chloride salt is the same chemical used to melt sidewalk snow in winter. Try adding calcium chloride to a pair of pantyhose to avoid adverse effects from the salt directly contacting your roof shingles.

Long-Term Prevention Methods

While short-term prevention methods offer a quick fix, installing long-term solutions ensures that ice dams never threaten your roof or home structure. Consider installing long-term ice dam prevention methods when you replace or renovate your roof.

Long-term prevention methods for ice dams include:

  • Install Attic Insulation: Attic insulation helps mitigate the interaction of indoor and outdoor temperatures. Insulation can make your attic more energy efficient while also preventing the formation of ice dams. Not only will this prevent damage, but it can reduce your utility bills because of the increased energy efficiency.
  • Add de-icing Cables: Professionals can install de-icing cables on the external structure of your roof. These cables heat falling snow throughout your roof, eaves, and gutters, leaving your roofing structure unaffected. Be careful not to dislodge these cables if you have to rake snow off your roof.
  • Seal airflow leaks and spaces between your roof structure and home interior: Airflow leaks, insulation issues, and spaces connecting your home’s warm air to the roof can all cause ice dam formation. Calling professionals to seal airflow leaks or openings that could cause ice dams offers another long-term solution.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) – Attic Dams

Continue reading below for some frequently asked questions about attic dams.

What Is an Ice Dam on a Roof?

Ice dams occur when melting snow remains trapped in your roof’s eaves or gutters and refreezes. Because these frozen barriers prohibit water from appropriately leaving the roof, ice dams can cause leaks and water damage. Removing ice dams protects your home from severe problems.

Are Ice Dams Serious?

Yes, ice dams are serious issues. While the dams and icicles caused by winter storms might appear beautiful on your roof, they can also cause significant water damage over time. Call professionals when you notice graying on your ceiling, considerable ice buildup, or mold formation within your home.

Do All Ice Dams Cause Damage?

While ice dams significantly increase the chances of home damage, there is no guarantee that they will adversely impact your roof or home structure. Nevertheless, the costly damage ice dams cause might make long-term prevention strategies worthwhile. Professionals can help fortify your roof against ice dams.

Enlist Top-Rated Ice Dam Removal Near Me From Attic Projects

Are you still wondering how to get rid of an ice dam? Attic Projects offer top-rated ice dam guys to remove these roof obstructions and repair any minor damage. Calling an ice dam removal service immediately can help you avoid expensive repairs caused by water and structural damage.

For more information on ice dam removal, Call us and request a free quote from Attic Projects today.

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