What is an ice dam?
An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof. It prevents melting snow and water from draining off the roof. The water that does not drain can leak into your home and damage your walls, ceilings, insulation and other areas. Ice dams are typically caused by uneven heat loss from your home in wintry conditions such as snow, heat melting the snow, and cold temperatures re-freezing melted snow. A common cause of heat loss is due to inadequate attic insulation or from warm air seeping into the attic from living spaces below. This causes the roof to warm and melt the snow and then re-freeze before the melted snow slides off the roof. If this cycle repeats enough you get an ice dam and water collecting behind it.
How To Prevent Ice Dams
There are steps you can take to help prevent ice dams on your home.
- Keep the attic well ventilated.
- Seal air leaks to prevent warm air leakage from plumbing vents, junction boxes from ceiling fixtures and attic hatches.
- Keep the attic floor well insulated to minimize the amount of heat rising into the attic from below. (between 16 and 22 inches of insulation).
- Clean leaves and other debris from gutters before the first snow. This will help prevent ice buildup in your gutters.
- Consider using an ice shield under your shingles when your house is getting re-roofed.
- Use a roof rake to clear the snow above the gutter. Clear as much as three to four feet above the gutter to allow water to drain freely into the gutter.
Don’t let this crazy Ohio weather turn into a disaster for your home. Ice dams can cause serious damage to your home which can turn into a large homeowners insurance claim. Take the extra time before the bad weather to do the necessary preventative measures.
Share this information with your friends and family to help them prevent ice dams.