Each winter as snow and ice hits your rooftop, that snow poses a danger in the form of ice dams. Left unchecked, ice dams can cause major damage, as the ice along your roof line prevents melting snow from flowing into your gutters. Instead, the water is forced back under the shingles. From the shingles, the water will saturate the roof and drip into your home’s walls, ceilings and soffits. That can mean stained walls, peeling wallpaper and sagging ceilings.
How ice dams form
To prevent ice dams, it helps to understand how ice dams form. When snow sits on your roof, the heat from your attic warms and melts it. The water runs downward and refreezes at the colder, outer edges of your roof line, creating ice dams. This process continues with more and more water hitting the edge of your roof and freezing, creating larger and larger ice dams.
Tips for preventing ice dams
The best way to prevent water damage from ice dams is to prevent ice dams from forming in the first place. Because ice dams form due to irregular temperatures on the roof, the best way to combat ice dams is to create a consistent temperature on your roof top. Some ways to do this include:
- Vent the attic. Heat rises to the top of home, which makes the peak of your roof its warmest part. Adding vents to your roof’s ridge line and to your soffits can lower the temperature of your attic, which can prevent snow from melting rapidly on your rooftop.
- Insulate the attic floor. By adding insulation to your attic floor, you will keep the heat within your home. Not only will this help with your home heating bills, it will help to keep your attic from heating your roof and melting snow. Don’t forget to insulate and add weather stripping to the attic hatch.
- Update your lighting. If you have older recessed lights in your home, they can put off a lot of heat into your attic. Adding insulation to prevent heat transfer from these lights creates a major fire hazard. Replace them with new sealed can lights that can be safely insulated.
Don’t forget air ducts, pipes and cables. When you insulate, include the air ducts, pipes and cables that run through your attic. Seal the joints on your air ducts and cover with insulation. Calk around electric lines and vent pipes.
What to do if ice dams form
As with most things, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when it comes to ice dams. However, in periods of heavy snow, it can sometimes be impossible to stop ice dams. If you notice ice dams have formed on the edge of your roof, call in the roofing professionals! Roofers have special steamers to remove ice dams without causing damage. Never try to remove dams yourself, as you can badly damage your roof.
For more information on preventing ice dams or for a gutter and roof inspection, contact us at The Gutterman of TN today!