An ice dam might sound like something that works to protect your home from ice, but actually, an ice dam can cause severe damage to your home. It makes sense to prevent them from occurring. You may notice that icicles are hanging off your home, and it might be hiding a damaging problem: an ice dam. The ice that is hanging so prettily off your roof may be acting as a barrier to any water sitting behind it. This water can cause damage to your roof, ceilings, walls, floors, gutters and downspouts. It may even put so much weight onto your gutters that they pull away from your house, and your fascia boards might come down with them. That’s probably going to cost at least $100 or more to fix alone. There may even be “invisible” damage to your joists and insulation. Plus, there is that added worry of mold growth from all that moisture.
How Does an Ice Dam Form?
You may be wondering how an ice dam could form since the dam is frozen, why wouldn’t the water behind it also be frozen? Three factors result in ice damages being able to form: subfreezing temps, snow on your roof, and heat loss. What happens is the heat from your home is rising, and it is causing the snow on your roof to melt. This snowmelt then travels downward toward the gutter and eave where it refreezes. The ice gets bigger and bigger until it blocks the water from being able to flow over the edge. This water will sit behind the ice in a puddle where the roof is keeping it warm enough not to freeze, as well.
Preventing ice dams is much better than trying to repair the damage of one. Since there are three factors involved in the formation of ice dams, it makes complete sense to control the one factor that you can: heat loss. Ventilation and insulation are the keys to limiting the amount of heat that you will lose through your roof. Roofs need to be ventilated to have a place to expel heat, and they need to be insulated since heat rises. A professional service can install the right vents, protect recessed light fixtures, and install the proper insulation. In the case of finished attics, the installer may need to open up the ceiling to get it correctly installed. The good news is that not only will this work to prevent ice dams and the damage that they can cause, but it will also help you to save money on your energy bills as the heat will stay in your home rather than pass through the roof.
Some people may also be able to deal with one of the other factors involved in creating ice dams, snow. Some people can reach their roof with a long-handled device with the purpose of removing snow, such as roof rakes. Some individuals look into a system that de-ices the roof using electric heating cables, but these are not always effective in preventing ice dams and can even reduce the life of your shingles.
Oh No! Ice Dam Spotted!
A roofing company can come to the rescue if you have ice buildup and so can Peak Construction! There are a variety of ways to safely remove ice and snow on your Hudson Valley home. Hire a professional in lieu of doing it yourself, much safer and they are used to doing this.