Preventing and Fixing Ice Dams

Take action to prevent or remove ice dams before they cause damage to your roof.

Our area tends to experience cold and snowy winters, so your roof is likely prone to icicles and ice dam buildup. Ice dams are ridges of ice that develop along the roof edge and prevent water from draining off of the roof.

Ice dams occur when the roof is warm enough to melt the snow, causing the melted snow to run down toward the roof’s edge, where it refreezes. This ridge of ice can grow and quickly become a hazard. The ice gets heavier as it builds and can cause shingles to loosen or gutters to tear away from the house. When water builds up on the roof behind the ice, it often starts to leak into the home and cause mold or other damage to walls and ceilings.

Prevent Ice Dams from Forming

The best solution to protect your roof from ice is to take precautions before the buildup begins. Here are a few ways to preserve your roof during winter weather.

1. Rake snow off the roof

This is a simple solution for those who get occasional snow on a single-story home. A snow rake can be effective in carefully scraping the snow off so that it can’t melt and form ice. However, in areas that get lots of snow or for larger houses, this solution may not be practical.

2. Heat cables

Heated cables help temperatures on the edge of the roof warm up preventing the water from freezing. The cables are attached in a zigzag pattern all around the roof’s edge and create pathways for water to escape.

3. Insulation

Since ice dams occur due to warm air escaping ceilings and attics, a longer-term solution is insulating the ceiling beneath the attic. This prevents warm air from escaping into the attic and rising to the roof. This stops the snow from melting in the first place.
 
4. Ventilation

A ventilation system installed underneath the roof will circulate the cold air and prevent the roof from warming up. In the winter, a well-ventilated attic will stay dryer and cooler, which decreases the chances of ice dams and mold.

Fixing Ice Dam Buildup

If ice has already built up around your gutters, the last thing you want to do is chip it off with a hammer or ice pick. This is not only a risk to your own safety but may cause damage to the roof.

Instead, try one of these solutions:

•    Blow cold air from a box fan toward areas where water is leaking into your attic. This will freeze the water and prevent mold and moisture damage.
•    Melt the ice with calcium chloride or a similar product.
•    For instant results, spray warm water on the ice to melt it. Keep in mind that if the cold weather continues, the warm water will end up freezing and the problem will not be resolved.

One of the safest and surefire solutions is to call a professional so that they can use specialized equipment to steam off the ice. Call Enterprise Roofing at 937-240-2206 for a free roof evaluation or request a quote from us today!

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