All About Ice Dams

December 9, 2015

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The icicles hanging from your roof and gutters may look beautiful but they could be quite deadly to your roof. When there’s icicles there’s also a plentiful amount of snow and ice on top of the roof. And underneath the snow and ice on your roof is a pool of melted water. This is an ice dam. This water can worm its way underneath roof shingles and even into your home, causing major damage to your roof, attic, ceilings, walls, and floors. Basically, your entire house could be damaged by this pile of water especially since the weight of the ice dam can make gutters pull away from the home – bringing fascia boards along for the ride. Preventing ice dams is a necessity.

Ice Dam Damage

Ice dams can do a hefty amount of internal damage. In fact the average homeowner claim (from 2002-2007) for ice dam damage was over $5000! That’s because ice dams can crack plaster ceilings and walls, soak the carpets, buckle wood floors, and even make the paint peel inside and outside your home. That isn’t even mentioning the mold or the rot that can form inside and outside a house because of ice dams! Collapsed rain gutters, as mentioned above, is another huge issue that’s caused by ice dams and this can cause homeowners a pretty penny.

So How Exactly Are Ice Dams Created?

When it snows and is cold outside, the homeowner will (most likely) have the heat on in their house. The heat rises in the home and reaches the roof where it melts the accumulated snow on the roof. That melted snow goes down the roof until it hits the gutters where it refreezes. This continues to happen and eventually blocks the flow of the other melting snow. The other water collects behind the ice dam (looking almost exactly like a puddle) and then doesn’t refreeze.

This is how ice dams are formed.

 

But How Can You Prevent Ice Dams?

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Fortunately, ice dams, as damaging as they are, can be prevented. The main thing you can do is to prevent heat from reaching the roof. Once the heat reaches the roof, the snow is going to melt. But if you can prevent the heat from moving up to the roof, you’ll prevent the snow melt and the ensuing ice dams.

The best way to prevent ice dams is to properly insulate and ventilate your attic. If you do this, the surface of your roof will stay at (or at least near) the outdoor temperature, making it impossible for the snow to melt.

One of the best parts of attic ventilation (other than preventing ice dams) is that you’ll save on your energy and utilities bills. The U.S. Department of Energy says that when an attic is properly insulated and ventilated will not only reduce your winter heat bills (by keeping the heat inside the house rather than outside!), it will also save you on summer air conditioning bills. The ventilation will remove any heat buildup in your home. Proper attic insulation can save you 10%-50% on your utility bills!

If you can’t afford to insulate or ventilate your home at the moment, there are a few other alternatives. Mostly, the alternatives have to do with using a long-handled device such as a broom or rake to remove snow on your roof before it can melt. However, this is obviously very difficult and dangerous. It’s also not very effective since most homeowners cannot reach all the areas on a roof.

How To Remove Ice Dams

If you need to remove an ice dam from your roof, you should contact a professional, accredited roofing contractor like Accord Construction, Inc. A professional roofing contractor will know how to remove the ice dam without damaging the integrity of your roof. This can be expensive depending on the contractor, but it’s less expensive than waiting for something to go wrong in your home, and much safer than trying to remove snow and/or ice dams by yourself on a slippery, snowy roof.

At Accord Construction, Inc., we will help you prevent or repair any damage from winter weather. Whether you need us to remove an ice dam, install attic insulation (and/or ventilation) or help you with any home damage that was caused by ice dams, we will make sure your roof and home is in perfect condition. We’re fully certified and accredited and will ensure that your house is safe. Call Accord Construction, Inc. at at (405) 302-5520 for more information or to book an inspection. 

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