New England winters bring in the potential of ice dams which can severely damage a home. Ice dams can damage roofing, walls, ceilings, insulation, and the gutter system. What’s worse is that it can come with long-term effects that may go undetected after eliminating the ice dam. Prevention is the best method to ensure that ice dams don’t ruin your home.
How Do Ice Dams Form?
The surface of the roof becomes hot from the heat inside the home. The outside temperatures may still be freezing, but the bottom layer of snow closest to the roof will begin to melt. That melted water will begin to flow down the roof until it reaches a point that is cooler. Then the water refreezes.
If this continues to happen, it can create a large ice dam that prevents the snow from melting and draining off the roof. The water that can’t drain off then begins to build weight on the roof. That water will find its way into cracks, openings, or weak spots in the roof and begin causing damage.
What Damage Can Ice Dams Cause?
The water damage from leaks is the only hazard of ice dams. Ice dams can also come with a substantial amount of weight on the roof, causing damage to the roofing materials and carpentry.
Ice dams can also lead to gutter damage, particularly if the water made it to the gutter or nearly to the gutter before refreezing. Ultimately, the most serious consequences of ice dams come from the aftermath.
If uncorrected or treated improperly, the water and physical damage of the ice dam can lead to mold and mildew. It’s best to dry out any wood and insulation immediately if any area in the attic is wet or damp.
Can I Prevent Ice Dams?
Yes, preventing ice dams is actually fairly easy. Removing snow from the roof is the best option to ensure that there’s not the chance of an ice dam forming. There are professional services for this, and it’s always best to have a pro do this type of work.
Another method to lay down heated strips to help ease the flow of water during cold weather. Heated gutter or roof strips can help ensure that the melted snow doesn’t have the chance to refreeze in or near the gutter system.
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