Ice dams can cause major damage to your home. Call us today before your ice dam causes any further damage. We will remove them safely and efficiently.

Not sure what an ice dam is or why it is so important to have them removed? Read on for more information.

An ice dam is a buildup of ice and snow that forms at the edge of a roof preventing melting snow from properly draining off the roof. The melted water backs up behind the dam of ice and remains as liquid. This trapped water will find a path of least resistance to escape. Unfortunately, it finds cracks and openings in the exterior roof into the attic through the walls or ceilings. Anytime water finds its way to anything other than your gutters, it has the potential to cause damage.

Three things are required for an ice dam to form:

  • Snow
  • Heat to melt the snow
  • Cold to refreeze the water

Once there is snow on your roof, heat from inside the home rises through the ceilings and into the attic. If the attic is sufficiently ventilated, heat is dispersed, leaving the attic area and roof deck as cold as the outside air. Without sufficient attic ventilation, heat collects under the roof deck and melts the snow on the roof. Melted snow rolls down the roof slope to the eave and refreezes before dripping off of the roof into the gutters. As this process continues, the layer of ice at the eave gets thicker and eventually creates an ice dam trapping the melted snow behind it and creates a pool of water. As we mentioned above, that trapped pool of water can creep under the shingles, into the home causing damage to walls, ceilings and insulation.

Signs you may have an ice dam:

  • Large icicles extending from eaves and gutters can be beautiful, but they are often signs of an ice dam above.
  • Snow and ice buildup at the edge of your roof
  • And finally, water leaking in through your ceilings. Look for this type of leak on a day when there is a noticeable change in temperature.

Prevention:

  • Standard shingle roof systems are water-resistant, not waterproof, so while having a good quality roof offers some protection, the accumulated water can leak into the structure through the shingle joints.
  • Removing 3 – 5 feet of snow away from the roof’s edges after every snow fall, especially in any problem areas you have identified.
  • Keep your gutters clean and clear. Leaves and other debris left in your gutters over the winter will prevent effective drainage contributing to the formation of ice dams
  • Decrease the temperature in your attic by adding additional layers of insulation. If your attic is not well ventilated, heat from the rest of your home will contribute to the warmer temperature in your attic.

Removal

You can use a ladder and a roof rake to remove snow from the section of roofing closest to the eaves and gutters.  You will want a 3 – 5 foot border between the snow and the roof’s eaves.

Never put rock salt or sodium chloride on your roof as it will damage your shingles. Potassium chloride or calcium chloride can be used safely to melt ice.

Removing an ice dam can be quite dangerous, consider contacting a professional to remove the snow and ice from your roof.

When we remove ice dams, we use a steamer that converts cold water into steam. Low pressure steam is an efficient and safe way to remove ice dams. Other methods tear up or cause damage to your shingles.

For more information on Ice Dams, check out our Blog.

  • Let us know what your next project is and how we can help: 612.314.9015
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