As its name implies, an ice dam is a dam formed by a wall of ice. It is usually formed during winter. It is formed at the outer frame of a roof/the edge of a roof across the roof gutter. It is caused when a roof doesn’t have a uniformed temperature and will most likely require a roofing company to repair. If the higher part of a roof is warmer than the outer frame of the roof when snow falls, it melts at the rooftop, then runs down to the edge of the roof where it solidifies and forms an ice dam.
Some roofs have ice dams during winter, while others are immune to it. The reason for this will be explained later, in this article. Ice dams are one of the leading causes of a leaky roof. This is because, when they are formed, they tend to prevent running water from entering the roof gutter. When this occurs, the running water starts leaking into the roof, sagging ceilings, and peeling paints. Another disadvantage of ice dams is that it damages a roof gutter. Ice dams are heavy, and when they occur, they may damage roof gutters or even the structure of the house.
The varying temperature of a roof is the primary cause of an ice dame. It usually occurs if the higher part of a roof has a temperature that is more than 32 degrees Fahrenheit while the lower part of a roof might have a temperature that is less than 32 degrees Fahrenheit. This change may occur if the temperature of a house’s attic is high. By means of conduction, this warm temperature may seep into the roof and make it warmer. This warmth will, however, now extend to the edges of a roof, thereby, creating varying roof temperatures.
Let us now explain how a homeowner can prevent ice dams from forming on his roof.
How to prevent ice dams from forming on your roof during winter.
- By blocking sources of heat into the attic: you can prevent ice dams from forming on your roof by blocking all the areas that heat can pass through to get into your attic. You can do this by sealing holes in vents and chimneys.
- Ventilating the roof deck: prevent ice dams by making sure that any hot air that enters the attic will leave without circulating in the attic. You can do this by making sure that your attic and roof deck is well ventilated. Ventilation of the attic can be done by installing ventilators and fans in the attic. These ventilators usually have a thermostat that gauges when the attic becomes too hot and turns itself on to cool the attic. You can also ventilate your attic by installing soffit or ridge vents. Soffit or ridge vents are small openings that prevent the attic from getting too cold. This they do by allowing cool air to flow into the attic.
- Insulate your attic: insulating your attic will prevent hot air from flowing from your attic to your home and vice versa.
- Install electric cables around the edges of your roof: Electric cables are installed in a zigzag pattern around the edges of a roof. Although very effective, you are advised against installing an electrical cable to prevent an ice dam. The result of the combination of electricity and water is always something cringe-worthy.
- Remove the snow with a rake: raking out the snow on a roof can be done if winter has come, but an ice dam has not been formed. You can gently brush off the snow from your roof using a long roof rake. You are, however, advised not to climb up to your roof to carry out this activity. You might slip because of the wet roof.