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Ice Dams: 2 Proven Ways on How to Prevent It


Ice Dams: 2 Proven Ways on How to Prevent ItIce dams, the other consequence of the cold season, may look harmless and can add beauty to the surroundings. However, when an ice dam forms on roofs, it can lead to structural damage, water damage to ceilings or walls and even mold growth. That is why preventing ice dams is necessary.

The following are information about ice dams and how to prevent them.

What Is An Ice Dam And How Does It Form?

An ice dam is a pile of ice that forms along at the edge of a roof, gutter or soffits. While in snow or ice, it is harmless and does not cause any problem. However, when the outside temperature or the temperature inside the attic is warm, the snow starts to melt. As a homeowner, we presume that the water will flow off the edge of the roof. However, in some instances, when the temperature outside becomes low and the temperature at the edge of the roof is below freezing, the water refreezes and forms like a dam. This dam can cause blockage to the flow of the water. The melted snow that pools behind the dam can pull its way back to the roof shingles. This can lead to a water leak and eventually cause water damage to walls, ceilings, and other surrounding areas.

Though insurance companies cover the cost of the repair for water damage caused by ice dams, it will never be enough to cover all the inconveniences and time spent on fixing everything. The best to handle this problem is to prevent it from happening in the first place.


How To Prevent Ice Dam Formation

Heat is the number one factor that can lead an ice dam to cause damage to property. Fortunately, there are several ways of preventing ice dams in winter. But insulation and ventilation are the best solutions to take.

  • Insulation

Since the main reason for ice dam formation on roofs is the temperature from the attic that causes the snow to melt. The warmer the temperature in the attic is the faster the snow melts. Keeping your attic at a low temperature is a good start in preventing ice dams.

Install insulation in your attic and if insulation is insufficient, add more. Installing more insulation is as easy as laying more layers to the existing ones. However, there are fallbacks to this procedure. If you have questions about this procedure, it is best to throw them to a professional roofer or insulation person.

Moreover, inspect the weather stripping and the insulation on attic stairways. Make sure that this is properly sealed and in good condition to prevent ice dams.

  • Ventilation

The other best solution in preventing ice dams is ventilating your attic. Generally, houses with proper attic ventilation are not prone to ice dams. Letting the cool breeze from the outside circulate in the attic space prevents ice dams to form.

To make sure your attic is well ventilated, first, inspect if the existing vents are not covered with insulation or anything. Remove anything from the soffits so outdoor air can flow freely. Check the size of the vent opening. The standard guideline for venting is 1 square foot for every 150 sq. ft. of attic floor area.

If your attic has no vents, adding a ridge vent can be your best option. If you need more information about this procedure or need help in installing it, you might as well contact a professional roofer.

Aside from insulation and ventilation, proper roof maintenance can prevent ice dams in winter.

What To Do When You Have Ice Dams

Ice dams do not harm. What is causing the problem is the melted water that seeps into your home. Using a shovel, chisel or a hammer or throwing salt on your roof cannot solve the problem. Luckily, there are temporary fixes you can take if you notice signs of ice dams.

  • Blow in cold air using a box fan. Make sure to place it in the area where water is leaking. Doing this will freeze the water.
  • Rake it. Remove the accumulated snow or ice with an aluminum rake. But, remember your safety while doing this.
  • De-ice it. Use a pair of pantyhose and fill it with calcium chloride. Place it on the roof crossing the ice dam and overhanging on the gutter. The calcium chloride can help in melting the snow and ice.  

When removing ice dams, you should always consider your safety before taking any action. If an ice dam seems to cause damage to your property and removing it can be difficult for you, opt to hire a professional.

Water Damage from Ice Dams?

If you experience water damage from ice dams, contact Water Damage Riverside. This certified restoration company has expert specialists and technicians that can deal with all kinds of water damage from several causes. They use advanced equipment and techniques to fully mitigate the damage and restore your home. Call them today for a free estimate.


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