Sparkling icicles hanging from bushes and tree branches may seem like pure winter wonder, but when those same icicles hang off the sides of roofs, that wonder could quickly turn to worry due to ice dams.
Once formed, these large chunks of snow and ice can cause costly damage to you property. Ice dams can tear off gutters. loosen shingles, and even cause water damage. Avoid the risk of damage by learning how ice dams form and how to prevent them.
FORMATION OF AN ICE DAM
- Snow on the higher portion of the roof must be above 32° F, with snow on the lower portion of the roof below 32°
- If snow from the higher portion of the roof melts and runs down into the lower portion – and refreezes – an ice dam will form.
- Ice dams will often cause the gutter and soffit to clog with ice, not letting water run off the roof. This will force water to leak through the roof or under the soffit.
PREVENTING ICE DAMS
- Thoroughly clean all leaves. sticks. and other debris from rain gutters and down spouts. This allows melting roof snow to flow into gutters and through down spouts.
- Strive to keep snow on your roof to a minimum. Long-handled devices called “roof rakes” let you stand on the ground and pull the snow off the roof. Keeping heavy snow loads off your roof reduces the chances for both ice dam formation and roof failure.
- Keep gutters and down spouts clear of snow and icicles all winter.
- Evaluate the insulation and ventilation in your attic. Good airflow from under the eaves or soffit area along the underside of the roof and out through the roof vents is essential. The insulation prevents heat loss from the interior of the home. The venting allows the attic air to stay cold enough to prevent or minimize the freeze/thaw cycle on the roof. Consult a professional about these improvements.