How To Deal With Ice Damage

Daniel Williams

Feb. 1, 2022

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Icicles on your Christmas Tree are beautiful, but icicles hanging along the eaves of your house spell trouble. That's because the same conditions that allow icicles to form, snow-covered roofs and freezing weather also lead to ice dams. Thick ridges of solid ice that build up along the eaves. Dams can tear off gutters, loosen shingles, and cause water to back up and pour into your house. This can cause excessive interior damage not to mention soggy insulation in the attic, which loses R-value and becomes a magnet for mold and mildew.

These are the conditions that lead to the formation of ice dams. First, heat collects in the attic and warms the roof, except at the eaves. Next, snow melts on the warm roof and then freezes on the cold eaves. Finally, ice accumulates along the eaves, forming a dam. Meltwater from the warm roof backs up behind the ice, flows under the shingles, and into the house.

To keep ahead of ice dam damage, snap photos where you see frosty buildup. Use the pictures to help target an interior inspection, during which you should check for leaks.

Now that you know how ice dams form, here are ways to prevent it from occurring.

The installation of heated cables on your roof and in eaves help to prevent ice dams. This solution allows you to equalize your roof's temperature by heating it from the outside melting any ice that is forming.

Hacking away at ice dams with a hammer, chisel, or shovel is bad for your roofing—and dangerous for you. Pull off snow with a long-handled aluminum roof rake while you stand safely on the ground.

Getting rid of ice dams for good is simple, in principle, just keep the entire roof the same temperature as the eaves. This can be done by increasing ventilation, adding insulation, proper soffit to allow airflow and sealing off every possible air leak that might warm the underside of the roof.

By taking care of common trouble spots you should enjoy dam-free winters and increase the health of your home.

GBS Contracting Services Inc is an expert in the installation of Heat-Line freeze protection systems in the Muskoka area.