How Can I Prevent and Remove Damaging Ice Dams on My Roof?

by | Feb 5, 2015 | Home Maintenance Tips, Roofing

Do you see icicles dangling from your rooftop? They may be pretty – but they’re also symptoms of ice dams.

And you don’t want ice dams on your roof.

An ice dam is just snow that has melted, run down the roof to somewhere it shouldn’t be (usually the eavestrough), hit the cold air, and then froze again. As even more snow melts and flows down to the same spot, it can’t get by the ice dam and it backs up. Water is forced under roof shingles and underlayment.

Ice dams can cause lasting damage to your roof – and if they get through your roof, they can start damaging your ceilings, walls, insulation … you get the idea.

Ice dams = bad.

Ice Dams - Roofing maintenance burlingtonWhat Causes the Ice Dams?

If ice dams are forming on your roof, your first instinct may be to blame your roofing contractor – and sometimes that is the problem. But more often than not, there are other issues that are causing the ice dams.

Knowing what causes ice dams is first step in preventing them.

When heat comes up through your roof, it melts the snow. And as we know, melted snow turns into ice dams.

Here are some of the top culprits that can cause heat on your roof:

  • Poorly ventilated attic
  • Improper or insufficient insulation
  • Portions of the roof hanging over (e.g. porch roofs or overhangs)
  • Too much snow on the roof

Other factors can interact to cause ice dams as well, like tree coverage, weather conditions, house design, or even which side of your roof is facing the sun when it’s at its hottest.

How to Prevent Roof Ice Dams

Improve Your Ventilation: Are your roof and attic both properly ventilated? If they’re not, warm air can build up in the attic and rafters.

Improve Your Insulation: Is your attic properly insulated? What about your attic floor? Get an expert in there to check it out if you’re not sure. Otherwise, you could be losing heat through the roof (not only creating ice dams, but wasting energy and money on the heat lost too!).

Don’t Let Snow Build Up on Your Roof: When snow piles up on your roof, it starts acting as an insulator and warming the air at the bottom, where your roof is. Get the snow removed from your roof to stop this problem before it happens. After all, professional roof snow removal is cheaper than water damage repair! *NEVER go up on a roof in the winter, and do not try to remove snow yourself from roofs higher than one-storey.

Don’t Keep Your Furnace or Water Heater in the Attic: If your home has a furnace and/or water heater in the attic, consider having them moved to a lower level.

Clean Your Gutters Before Winter: Dead leaves leftover in the gutters from autumn can stop the runoff of water and lead to ice dams.

How to Remove Roof Ice Dams

You’re going to need the help of the professionals if you want to remove ice dams.

It’s too dangerous for you to get up on that roof yourself, but a professional roofer will have the tools, equipment, and experience necessary to do the job safely. A responsible roofer will also avoid damaging your roof in the process of removing the ice!

>> Contact Herb Lodde Roofing for expert residential roof snow and ice dam removal. We’ll help you get rid of that dam ice!

Serving customers in Burlington, Hamilton, St. Catharines, and the Niagara region.

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