The dangers of Ice Dams, and how they can damage your home
The cold winter weather can be tough on your home. Heavy snowfall can cause the roof to collapse. Even the snow melting can cause issues, because of the phenomena of ice dams.
What are ice dams?
Ice dams are a buildup of ice along the edges of a roof caused by melting snow turning into water. This can happen from temperatures outside increasing or by the warm air inside the building heating up the underside of the roof enough to melt the snow. These buildups will slowly grow over time. Eventually, the ice will grow tall enough to create a dam, blocking future snowmelt from falling off the roof. Because the water has nowhere else to go, it will pool next to the ice and stay there, either freezing into more ice or seeping into the roof itself.
How do ice dams create issues for your home?
The first major issue of ice dams is the water. With nowhere else to go, it will seep into the roof, damaging the shingles and supports. After that, the water can then spread further into your attic, leading to in-home water damage. This can result in major structural damage to your home, from rotting wooden support to water leaks from damage shingles.
In addition to that, the large ice buildup of the dam can cause its own set of issues. For starters, the dam can grow icicles, which if large enough, can cause damage if they fall. The buildup of ice will also be very heavy, which can cause damage to the eaves or gutters it grows on. Heavy buildup of ice can bend the eaves and gutters, making them unable to work properly. In a worst case scenario, the ice dam can become too heavy for your gutters to handle, bringing them down and needing a total replacement.
How to prevent ice dams?
There are multiple ways to prevent ice dams from forming, but their degree of success and difficulty can range quite a bit. The easiest way is to keep your gutters clear of fall debris that can create blockages that help ice dams form. This isn’t a perfect solution, as it only lowers the risk and won’t completely mitigate it. Another simple measure to lower your risk is to use a rake or similar object to remove snow buildup from the edges of the roof, making it easier for the melting snow to fall off.
For more complex solutions, installing heating cables on the roof or gutters will help ensure the snow melts before it can ice over, keeping your house free from ice dams. There are also special venting installations that can be installed in the attic in order to keep the roof the same temperature as the eaves, preventing the warm air inside the home from warming the roof. These methods are more complicated, but they offer much better protection against ice dams.
Despite these prevention measures, there is no way to guarantee an ice dam won’t form. Be sure to regularly check your attic in the winter for any leakage, in addition to checking the eaves and gutters for large ice buildup. If you do find any damage from ice dams, give Aloha Construction a call! Our experienced professionals can restore or replace your roof and gutters to keep your home safe from the elements.