Four Tips for Fighting Ice Dams this Winter

Icicles hanging from roofs gutter

Winter weather is fast approaching now that winter is officially here. Besides shoveling the steps and de-icing the sidewalk, another important task to address is ice dams. Ice dams build along the edge of your roof, as the ice forms icicles that hang down. While these icicles may look pretty to families walking by, they can cause severe damage to your home.

How Do Ice Dams Form?

Ice dams do not have to form during sleet or freezing rain weather events. It happens when there is snow on the roof and the roof has different temperature zones. Along the higher parts of the roof, the temperature will be above 32° Fahrenheit while the lower portion of the roof along the edges will have a temperature below the freezing point of 32°.

As warm air rises, the snow melts along the top portions of the roof only to freeze along the lower roof sections. Ice begins to build up to clog the gutter and hang over the sides. These ice dams may cause considerable damage such as pulling down the gutters, loosening shingles, rotting out wood framing and insulation and causing water damage to interior walls, floors, and ceilings.

Ways to Fight Ice Dams

Install Proper Roof Ventilation

Ventilating the roof eaves and ridges in the attic helps to even out the temperature so your roof doesn’t have varying temperature zones. The cold and warm air mixes so that the lower areas of the roof aren’t cold enough to freeze the melting snow from higher elevations. With balanced and continual airflow from an equal number of intake and exhaust vents, you lessen the likelihood of ice dams.

Add Attic Insulation

Attic insulation helps to keep the warm conditioned air inside your home while creating a barrier from the colder outside temperatures. By having attic insulation, the snow won’t melt as quickly or unevenly, as it will melt in a much slower manner to allow the gutters to redirect the water through the downspout.

Increase Roof Slope

There may be a problem with the existing slope of the roof that is allowing the snow to build up on top instead of sliding off while still frozen. Not only is this a serious problem that can cause ice dams, but the roof may also experience excessive stress loads from the weight of snow. Pools of water can sit on the roof for too long and give it a chance to rot out the roofing system and enter the home.

Switch to Larger Gutters and Downspouts

As the snow melts, it has to go somewhere. The gutters and downspouts help direct the water from going over the side and down the siding to enter the home. However, if your gutters and downspouts aren’t sized correctly for the size of the roof that your home has, water can overflow and freeze. Switch to larger gutters to deal with this issue.

Don’t let winter weather woes damage your home. Prevent ice dams and have a sound roofing system this winter by contacting Brandstetter’s KangaRoof.