How Do Ice Dams Form?
Contrary to popular belief, gutters do not cause ice dams. Ice dams and icicles form when snow melts, runs down the roof and then starts to refreeze near the edge. This happens when part or parts of your roof warm to above 32 degrees Fahrenheit. This results in the melting of the snow, causing the ice dams and icicles to form. Typically, this happens when heat in the attic or top floor of the home warms the wood and shingles that are directly above it, causing the ice to melt. However, once the ice hits the cold ledge, it freezes again, creating a rim of ice. As more snow melts and the rim grows bigger, more water gets trapped behind it causing a full-fledged ice dam.
To make matters worse, ice dams are known to be a silent destroyer. This is because it enters the house gradually, affecting the attic area first and gradually making its way into other areas of the home. By the time you realize that there is a problem, the damage has usually spread from the attic to other areas of the home.
How Do You Prevent Ice Dams?
One of the most important tips in preventing an ice dam from forming is to always aim to remove snow from you roof. Here are some roof snow removal tips:
- Whenever possible, try to remove the first few inches of snow from your roofline. This can be done with a roof rake or long handled brush that can permit you to reach the roof without a ladder. If you have more than just a few inches of snow, you will want to clear as much as possible
- Ensure that downspouts are clear so that water from melted snow can drain properly
- Insulate your attic. A well-insulated attic helps to prevent the melt/freeze conditions that aid in the forming of ice dams.
- Ventilate your attic. Even with proper insulation, there still needs to be ventilation or all of that heat in your attic won’t have anywhere to go.
Removing Ice Dams
OH NO! An ice dam formed on your roof. Now What? Before you worry, just because an ice dam has formed does not mean that water damage and mold growth are next. However, it is always best to remove the ice dam as soon as you notice it so that you do not give it a chance to damage your property.
Here are a few ways in which ice dams can be removed safely:
- Simply knocking the ice dam with a roof rake is often enough to dislodge it, allowing for the water to properly drain again
- If the ice dam is too large, try to cut a channel through it to allow for the water to properly flow and drain
- If you are unsure of how to properly remove the ice dam or if it is too hard to get to, it is best to hire a snow removal contractor to resolve the problem
Water damage in your home can make it impossible to live in. By its very nature, water will seep into every surface it meets, causing damage that can invite dangerous health issues like the growth of toxic mold. In turn, mold damage can cause further damage and lead to structural rot in your residential or commercial property. But rest assured, A.Molly’s water damage specialists are equipped with the latest tools in the restoration industry to thoroughly extract all of the water and restore your residential or commercial property back to its original condition.