When the snow on your roof melts and then refreezes, you can end up with ice dams along your roof line. The reason why ice dams are such a dangerous threat is because they prevent the proper drainage of water from your roof. Once they have developed, ice dams will thaw more slowly than the snow on your roof will melt. That means that water will collect on the roof, and possibly penetrate under the roof shingles, causing roof damage and leaks inside the house.
During snowy winter months, it is important to check your roof for signs of ice dam formations. Typically ice dams develop along the roof’s edge, depending on the style, orientation, and slope of your roof. Pay attention to icicles that form on your home. If they appear to only be on the gutters, and not inside the gutter, you should be okay. However, icicles do increase the likelihood of an ice dam forming, so your best bet is to remove them. Keep in mind that removing large icicles can be dangerous, depending on where they are located. If you cannot safely reach the icicles from the ground, consider hiring a roofing contractor to remove them.
Inside your home, look for signs of leakage, such as moisture or water stains. These are mostly to appear along the ceiling of exterior walls or in your attic. If you see any of these signs, it is likely that an ice dam has developed, and is causing water to penetrate the roof membrane. In order to prevent further damage, it is extremely important to remove the ice dam as soon as possible. You can attempt to remove an ice dam on your own, but as with icicle removal, the process can be very difficult and dangerous. Also, if it is not done right, inadvertent roof damage can happen. Consider hiring someone if you are at all concerned about your ability to safely do the job.
Lastly, if you have seen signs of leakage or know that you’ve had ice dams, be sure to have your roof inspected so that issues can be repaired before larger problems occur.