Icicles may be beautiful and give your home that wintery, cozy aesthetic, but they spell trouble. Masses of ice along your eaves are fairly common to see in the winter months – which is cause for concern. These are called ice dams, and are typically a result of a lack of maintenance. Ice dams can weigh hundreds of pounds and cause serious damage to your roof and home if you leave them be. Here’s what you need to know about why ice dams form, why they are something to be worried about, and what you can do to prevent them.
What Are Ice Dams?
Ice dams are masses of solid ice that form at the edges of your roof. They typically form after a snowstorm, once the snow has had a chance to melt from hitting your roof, but then freezing temperatures strike and the snowmelt has nowhere to go. They can result in extensive damages to your roofing system and home, so it’s vital that you take care of them before they get the chance to give you costly repairs to take care of.
What Causes Ice Dams?
As mentioned above, ice dams form from snowmelt that can’t drain off your roof. When snow falls onto your roof, depending on the outside temperature, it may not be cold enough to stick, so then it melts. Snow can also melt from the heat of the interior of your home warming your roof. Your gutters play an essential role in preventing ice dams by providing a drainage outlet for all this snowmelt.
Blocked gutters can cause ice dams, because if your gutters are full of debris and fallen leaves, this makes it so that they can’t serve their purpose in draining water from your roof. Gutters can also become blocked from snow and ice buildup. If the snowmelt can’t drain from your roof, it can refreeze at the edges, which over time, leads to the formation of an ice dam.
The Effects Of Ice Dams
Ice dams bring with them an assortment of problems for the integrity of your home. Since they form at the edges of your roof and are a result of a lack of drainage, this means that not only does the ice continue to build, but it also causes snow to continue piling on top of the roof, because it has nowhere else to go. This results in hundreds of pounds of snow on your roof, which can seriously damage it from the mere weight alone.
Ice dams also impact your gutters. Since icicles form on said gutters, this leads to increasing weight on them, which can pull your gutters away from your house and start to bend them. This can result in the need for gutter replacement, either in sections or in the entire gutter system.
The water from ice dams can get inside the walls of your home, leading to peeling paint and damaged wall frames. Since the water can leak inside your home, you may also find yourself with damaged insulation, water-stained ceilings, and higher energy bills, since the water damage lowers the insulation of your home, resulting in more and more heat loss the longer the ice dams are left as they are.
While the roof damage alone from the weight and dislodged shingles is cause enough to want ice dam repair, the internal damages they can cause only heighten the necessity to fix them asap – and to work to prevent them from forming in the future.
How Can You Fix An Ice Dam?
When you have ice dams, you may consider hiring a professional to come out and remove it, as they can typically do the job faster and more effectively, ensuring that they don’t cause further damage to your roof. Roofing professionals can use professional equipment to steam away ice dams, as an alternative to breaking off the ice with tools.
If you try to fix it yourself, you don’t want to try to hack it to bits, as this can lead to even more potential damages. The key is working in small chunks at a time. You may also use chemicals to melt the ice.
What Can You Do To Prevent Them?
The best measure to take against ice dams is to prevent them from forming in the first place. You can do this by insulating your attic, to prevent the freeze/thaw cycle, as well as adding ventilation and sealing airflow leaks. You can also rake the eaves of your home free of snow after every snowstorm, to keep the snow from building up.
You should make sure that your gutters are clear of fallen leaves and debris, and ensure that they remain free of snow and ice buildup, so that they can provide proper drainage for the snowmelt. You can also hire a professional to come out and install heat tape in your gutters, which melts a channel through ice buildup, allowing the water to run off your roof, an essential part of ice dam prevention.
Do You Need Ice Dam Repair?
Kanga Roof knows the extensive damages ice dams can wreak upon your home. Our trained professionals can help you both in preventing them, and in repairing any damages done by them to your gutters and roof. For more information on how to prevent ice dams or for ice dam repair, please contact us at Kanga Roof today! We’ll hop to it.