6 Easy Ways to Prevent Ice Dams

Ways to prevent ice dams

Snow and cold weather have finally arrived in Maine and New Hampshire, which is great news for ski resorts but can often lead to headaches for homeowners. Along with rising heating bills, another side effect of winter weather is an increased chance of ice dams forming on your roof.

Ice dams are continuous blocks of ice that form along the edges of your roof due to melting snow. They occur when all or part of your roof heats up to 32 degrees. This is typically caused by heat from your home escaping through the roof, often as a result of a warm attic. The escaping heat melts patches of snow on your roof, causing it to trickle to the edge where it refreezes as the temperature cools – creating an ice dam. The more snow on the roof, the greater the heat loss, and the longer period of time that temperatures remain below freezing, the greater the chances are that an ice dam will form.

As some of the ice begins to melt, it may begin to gradually seep under the shingles. Water can then drip through the roof, which can lead to potential water damage to your roof, drywall, insulation, ceilings and floors. If left untreated, this could lead to yet another problem – mold damage. The weight from the ice dams can also cause gutters and downspouts to pull away from your home, which can potentially bring the fascia boards with them.

To prevent ice dams from forming in the first place, you need to keep your roof cold. Some steps you can take to prevent ice dams from forming, including:

  • Thoroughly clean all of your drains, gutters and downspouts so melted snow can be directed away from your roof.
  • Remove or relocate any heat sources that are directly under the roof, such as in the attic.
  • Make sure any ceiling lighting fixtures that are directly below an unheated attic are insulated.
  • Install soffit, gable or ridge vents to expel heat.
  • Close up any air leaks in your attic caused by gaps in drywall, cracks around light fixtures, chimneys, etc.
  • Make sure your attic is properly insulated. If you have fiberglass or cellulose insulation, it should be a minimum of 12-14” thick. An even better solution is spray foam insulation, which will reach and insulate all cracks and crevices and results in a solid air barrier that greatly reduces the amount of heat escaping in the winter.

Should an ice dam form on your home don’t try to take care of it yourself as you are very likely to damage your roof. Call a company such as Octagon Cleaning & Restoration that can professionally remove your ice dam by steaming away the ice and removing any remaining snow on your roof.

If you are already experiencing water entering your home due to an ice dam do not delay, call the water mitigation experts at Octagon right away to treat the ice dam, and clean up the water damage and any resulting mold issues. You can reach our team of professionals at (207) 893-0002 in Maine and (603) 239-2100 in New Hampshire.