What is an Ice Dam?
If you live in parts of the U.S. that face extremely cold weather conditions during the winter months, then you’re probably habituated with seeing beautiful icicles formed on the edge of your roof. But do you know that these seemingly harmless icicles can cause serious and irreparable damage to your roofs? Icicles appear on the edge of the roof owing to the formation of an ice dam. If you are not acquainted with what is an ice dam and how you can get rid of such a thing, then do not worry. We’re here to help you out with these things.
What is an Ice Dam?
After a heavy snowfall takes place, the edge of your roof can get clogged with a huge load of ice. With time as the snow from the top of the roof melts and slides off as water, this build-up of ice may prevent the water from draining out off your roof. This leads to the formation of what is known as an Ice dam. The melted water that gets trapped behind the ice dam can make its way into the roof and cause grave damage to your roof shingles, ceilings and walls.
During winters, most people tend to use heaters inside their homes in order to keep themselves and the temperature inside, warmer. The warm air that rises from the homes heat escapes up certain parts of the roofs and leads to the surface of the roof to have different temperatures at different corners. This itself can be the reason for the formation of an ice dam on the roof which later may cause an ice dam leak. A ventilator system that works well and allows the warm air to leave through the vents can help prevent this from happening.
How to tackle one safely?
Primarily, only a skilled professional should be given access to a roof that has an ice dam formation on it. Thus, you must always contact a contractor or your roofing builders when dealing with an ice dam. The first step is to carefully remove the ice with the help of a snow rake. Applying too much pressure can lead to further damage, thus this should be done gently and with patience. To prevent small chunks of ice to clog your gutters, you must remove the ice with utmost care and with safety precautions.
If you want to take long-term actions in order to prevent the formation of ice dams on your roof, then you should try to make sure that your ceiling is made air-tight. Warm air from your rooms shouldn’t be allowed to flow into your attic. This will give rise to dissimilar roof surface temperatures. You can also invest in increasing your roof insulation so that all air leakage paths are blocked. Heat loss by conduction will substantially decrease with increased insulation.
An Ice dam leak calls for immediate actions to be undertaken by a professional. These actions may include trying to lower the edge of the dam and creating channels that will help the water to drain out through the ice. Do not try to do these on your own and always take assistance from a trustable contractor.
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