Winter – Ice Dam Prevention

icedam-diagramFall is coming to an end and winter is right around the corner. The long season of rain, snow, sleet, hail, blizzards, and freezing cold temperatures is on its way! It’s time to start preparing your home for these wintry mixes that could potentially cause damage to your home.  One of the most common damages to be cautious of are ice dams.

I’m sure you are wondering – what exactly is an ice dam? Well, let’s say there is a terrible snow storm and over the course of one day there was an accumulation of 24 inches of snow. Following the snow storm are a few cold wintry nights with the occasional snow fall. The only things you are probably concerned about are staying warm and making sure the driveway and walk ways around your home are cleared. In the meantime, snow is building up on top of your roof and icicles are hanging off the edges of your roof. Your gutters are frozen leaving no room for the water to escape.  All of a sudden ice dams begin to form. Water starts to build up between the shingles and the ice/snow on your roof, causing the water to migrate up and under the shingles. This occurs because the melted ice has nowhere to go – it is trapped! Moisture then begins to buildup in the roof and walls, causing leaking and rotting.

Here are a few ways to prevent ice dams:

  1. Have proper ventilation in your attic. The eaves (the part of the roof that hangs off the house) should be the same temperature as the entire roof. Install proper vents if your attic is heated (gable louvers, metal roof vent, metal ridge vent).
  2. Have proper insulation in your attic and roof. The attic should only be 5-10 degrees warmer than outside.
  3. Removing snow from your roof using a roof rake. If you cannot do this safely yourself, hire a professional. Do not use a hatchet, axe, knife or any other chopping appliances! It could make your roof situation worse.

Ice dams can be easily prevented if you take all the right precautions.  Take some time to get your roof inspected before it’s too late!

November 1st, 2013 by Quincy Insurance Agency LLC