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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Ice on Your Roof? It Could Become a Dam Problem (Part 1)

1/29/2019 (Permalink)

Ice Dam Formation Icicles hanging from your roof's eaves can mean an ice dam has formed, putting your home at risk of water damage.

Icicles glistening at the edge of your roof can be lovely in appearance, but the ugly truth is that they are a sign that your roof is at risk of water damage. Call SERVPRO to remove ice dams from your roof.

Those icicles are formed when snow forms a layer on your roof, is warmed by the air in your attic and begins to melt and trickle down over the shingles. Once the melted water hits the eave and is exposed to colder air, it cools and refreezes. Some of it drips off the gutter, freezes and forms icicles, but the water can also form into a thick ridge of ice--an ice dam--at the edge of the roof and gutter. Another way ice dams form is when snow and ice get trapped in a gutter already filled with leaves.

For Water Damage Restoration, Call SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield at 860-216-2785

Once that hump of ice forms and grows on your eaves, any water that melts and trickles down the slope of your roof is blocked. The water will back up and seek a way out. Unfortunately, that escape route is often through the roof shingles, through the layer of insulation and into your house’s ceilings and exterior walls. The result can be stained and sagging ceilings, ruined Sheetrock, soggy insulation that can turn moldy, warped floors and peeling paint.

How to Prevent Ice Dams

The root cause of ice dams is having a warm attic roof, and that comes from having insufficient insulation and venting in the attic. Taking four simple steps should prevent most ice dams from forming. (Additional benefit: you’ll save money on fuel bills because you’ll keep more of your heated air inside!)

  1. Seal the spots where warm air leaks from your living space to your attic! This may include areas around the chimney and house frame that can be sealed with flashing; the attic hatch or opening for whole-house fan, which can be covered with foil-lined foam board; HVAC and exhaust ducts that can be covered with foil-faced fiberglass; and gaps around electrical cables and vent pipes that can be plugged with sealant.
  2. Insulate your living space to prevent heat loss through the ceiling! Check with your local building department to determine how much insulation your attic needs.
  3. Vent the space between the insulation and the roof sheathing, so that any heat that does leak is carried to the outside! A proper attic ventilation system should include soffit vents, a ridge vent and baffles at the eaves, and should provide at least 1 SF of opening for every 300 SF of attic floor. Any ducts from the kitchen, bath or dryer should lead directly outdoors through the roof or walls, not the soffit.
  4. Clear your gutters and downspouts of leaves and other debris! Because this work is done on a ladder, consider hiring a professional.

Another way to prevent ice from forming dams on your roof is to install heated cables along the roof’s edge in a zigzag pattern.

For Water Damage Restoration, Call SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield at 860-216-2785How to Know If You Have an Ice Dam

Icicles are your first and most obvious clue. Get a good look at them and if they are confined to the gutters and you see no ice or water backed up behind them, you probably aren’t at risk of an ice dam--yet. (Icicles also pose a hazard if they fall off, so if you can, remove them before trouble starts--just don’t stand directly below them!)
Inside your home, check for water stains or moisture in your attic and along the ceiling of your exterior walls.

Part 2 of this blog post will tell you how to quickly and safely get rid of an ice dam.

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For Water Damage Restoration, Call SERVPRO of Bloomfield/Enfield at 860-216-2785

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