What exactly are ice dams? Do they cause any damage to my roof? Are icicles part of an ice dam? How can I stop ice dams from forming?
These are all important questions to ask when the winter season sets in. Let’s take some time and go through these questions.
What Exactly Are Ice Dams?
Simply put, ice dams are blocks of ice that have formed on the edge of your roof. A buildup of ice prevents water from making it to the gutter system and downspouts. Therefore, the water refreezes and creates a larger dam. The variations in the roof temperature are the main cause of ice dams. The indoor heat escaping could be from a poorly insulated attic or upper room of your home. As this cycle continues – snow melting, then refreezing – the areas of ice become larger and more problematic.
Do Ice Dams Actually Cause Any Damage to my Roof?
Yes! If left untreated, ice dams can create significant damage to roofs, shingles, gutters, and attic spaces. Damage can also occur with ceilings, insulation, and walls inside your home. Secondly, if untreated, the cost of repair increases. It is wise to eliminate the ice dams as soon as you see them forming. This process will halt the creation of ice dams and protect your roof and home.
Are Icicles Part of an Ice Dam?
Yes, and no. Ice may slide over the edges of your gutters near an ice dam, creating long pointy icicles. A safety inspection will help to determine if this is the case. It is also possible that the roof has no evidence of ice dams, but the gutter system is clogged. When this happens, water cannot freely flow through the system to the downspout, creating a buildup. Water could overflow, freeze, and create an icicle. Once again, an inspection of the gutters can begin to eliminate the problem.
How Can I Stop Ice Dams From Forming?
Excellent question! There are many steps you can take to stop the formation of ice dams.
Remove Excess Snow From the Roof
This process takes a special tool called a snow rake. A snow rake is a long aluminum pole attached to a flat blade used to gently pull the snow off a roof. Please be cautious when using a snow rake. If you pull with too much force, or aggressively, you could cause damage to the shingles underneath. A snow rake can only be used on single-story homes. The pole isn’t long enough to reach second stories. And, no, using a snow rake with a ladder is not a good option.
Install Heated Cables
This cable is installed on the edge of your roofing system, in a zig-zag pattern, and plugged into a GFCI outlet. This warms up the roof just enough to help keep the ice from forming. It would be nearly impossible to install this cable when the snow is on the roof, so thinking ahead is important for this removal tip.
Clean Your Gutters
As mentioned above, cleaning out the gutter system could be a good way of preventing ice dams. Also, make sure the gutter system is secure and doesn’t have holes in it is a wise choice.
The last tip to preventing ice dams would be to have your insulation inspected. Do you have enough? This could be an easy solution, it can keep the warm temperatures inside, and even save on your heating bills. It would be something to inquire about.
Now that you know just what ice dams are, and how to prevent them, the next step is to locate a trusted roofing company to assist you in the situation. There is no one better to trust, other than Nextgen Roofing in Westfield! They are the leading roofing contractor in Western Massachusetts, comprised of a team of skilled and experienced roofing professionals. We are passionate about the Pioneer Valley and strive to offer competitive pricing without slashing the quality of material or installation.
Contact us today for a free estimate!