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Dealing With and Preventing Ice Dams on Your Roof

A key facet of winter home maintenance that homeowners need to know is ice dam prevention. Ice dams can happen from fall through spring to the edge of your roof after a snowfall. These phenomena can lead to damage to structures, for example, mold in the loft, which can be extremely severe. Here’s the way ice dams type, how to prevent and remove ice dams, and who to call if a person should lead to damage to your home. 

How ice dams form

When snow accumulates on a roof, a cycle of melting and refreezing occurs. In an ideal world, the snow will melt the roof, enter the gutters and flow harmlessly into the ground. However, two key factors can cause problems: the external temperature and the temperature in your loft.

The warmer your attic is, the more melting will occur. Normally, the consequent water would leak off the edge of the roof. But, when the outdoor air temperature is shallow, the edge of the roof remains below freezing and the water refreezes when it gets to that point. As more snow melts, it also refreezes as it gets to the “ice dam,” and the dam keeps getting bigger.

To make things worse, ice dams are somewhat of a silent destroyer, as water enters the house slowly. In addition, it typically hurts the attic area, which is not a place that homeowners usually regularly. By the time you realize there’s an issue, it is when the harm has burst from the loft and to other areas of the house.

What’s more, contrary to popular opinions, gutters don’t cause ice dams. However, an ice dam can extend to a gutter if weather conditions allow. So, how can ice dams be prevented in the first location?

Ice dam prevention hints

Eliminate the snow from the roof

It’s common for homeowners to rev up their snowblowers and dig out their snow shovels after every winter snowfall to clear their driveways and sidewalks. But to not be ignored is the snow which has fallen on the house.

  • Remove the initial three to four inches of snow out of your roofline. This is best done with a roof rake or a long-handled brush that could permit you to take out the snow without using a ladder.
  • Make sure downspouts are clear that melted water has an opportunity to drain correctly.
  • If your region has received more than a foot of snow, then it’s ideal to clear not only the initial three to four inches together your roofline, but as much as you can.

Incorporating roof maintenance in your snow removal regimen is a great way to prevent ice dams after a snowfall, but there are other more long-term solutions.

Insulate your attic

A well-insulated loft helps prevent the melt/freeze conditions in which ice dams form by keeping the attic temperature lower. Since the main reason for ice dams is an overly hot loft, a fantastic ice dam prevention alternative is lowering the attic temperature.

Installing extra insulation in the loft area is as simple as laying additional layers across the current ones, or having more insulation blown in. But, there are limits to this procedure, and it’s ideal to hire or consult a professional roofer or insulation contractor.

Also, if you notice bare sections on your roof whereas the rest of the roof has snow, there may be insufficient insulation beneath the bare places. To affirm that, have your loft inspected and remedy the situation if needed.

You should also inspect the weather-stripping and/or insulating material on attic stairways or hatchways. Make sure it’s in good shape and seals nicely. This can help keep the warmth from the loft area and prevent ice dams.

Ventilate your loft

In spite of optimal insulation, there’s still heat leakage into the attic. That is when the value of loft ventilation becomes apparent. Without adequate ventilation, heat will build up regardless of the quantity of insulation.

First, inspect your loft to be confident the existing vents have yet to be covered by insulation or other objects.

The usual recommendation for ventilation is one square foot of vent for every 150 feet of attic floor area. If your home does not have that ratio (many older homes do not), hire a contractor to cure the issue.

If your home does not have vents, consider including a ridge vent. If you are not sure about the state of your roof, speak to a specialist roofer for assistance or advice.

Eliminating ice dams

When an ice dam has shaped on your roof, that doesn’t mean that water damage and mold growth occurred in the house. However, it’s always best to take out the ice dam as you detect that, well before it has a chance to cause damage to your house. Safely eliminating an ice dam can be achieved in several ways:

  • Only knocking an ice dam with a roof rake is frequently enough to dislodge it. Doing this allows water to drain. That will allow any standing water it’s obstructing to drain correctly.
  • As you don’t ever want to use rock salt onto your roof, you can use calcium chloride to melt the ice dam and allow water to once again flow freely.
  • Eventually, another alternative is to hire a snow removal contractor to solve the issue.

Hint: Installing a water membrane underneath the roofing shingles can act as extra security. It helps prevent water from seeping into the construction.

For water damage recovery, contact PuroClean!

Now is the opportunity to make winter maintenance a priority. But even with ice dam prevention measures set up, you may still be vulnerable to an ice dam which could create a water reduction.

If you notice water harm (marks, drips, or lines) on ceilings or outdoor walls, it might signify that an ice dam has shaped, and ice and water have forced their way to your attic. Along with repairing the cause of the ice cube, it’s important to recognize this is a legitimate water damage situation.

The problem ought to be remediated by trained professionals to prevent further damage to the structure (such as rotting) and to prevent mold growth — a health hazard to individuals living in the home.

And that is where your local PuroClean office can help in restoring your water-damaged home to a pre-loss condition. For more information on PuroClean’s water damage restoration services, as well as mold removal services, get in touch with your closest location now. Check them out here.

They took care of our water damage, visit PuroClean of Stuart for more information.