Ice Dams: What They Are and How to Avoid Them

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Ice Dams: What They Are and How to Avoid Them – Colder temperatures means less lawn care, but the cold and snowy weather can lead to several serious problems for your home. These issues can be troublesome and costly while adding stress to your life. One such problem is ice damming, which if left untreated can damage your roof, gutters, paint, drywall and structure extensively and even lead to mold. In this post, we’ll discuss what ice dams are, how they form and offer several tips to help you avoid them.

What are ice dams?

Ice dams occur when melting snow runs off your roof and refreezes at the edge, causing water to become trapped on your roof and creating a larger ice dam. They form most often after a large snowfall because the snow acts as an insulator. The heat from your home makes your roof warmer than the freezing point and the snow begins to melt, then refreezes in the cold winter air.

How can I prevent ice dams?

The best way to prevent ice dams during the winter is to reduce or get rid of any sources of heat in the attic of your home and ventilate the attic space of the roof. The goal is to make the roof of your house the same temperature as the eaves, so water won’t freeze at the end of your roof. There are several things you can do to properly ventilate the area under your roof and prevent heat from escaping:

  • Cap the attic hatch or whole-house fan with weatherstripped caps made from foil-faced foam board held together with aluminum tape.
  • Make sure all exhaust goes to the outside, preventing heat from warming the roof.
  • Add more insulation on the attic floor.
  • Seal and insulate your ducts.

If you’d like to learn more about how to prevent ice dams, this article from This Old House offers good advice.

Keep these tips in mind and you’ll be able to prevent ice damming, keeping your home in top shape this winter.

Do you have tips for winterizing your home? Leave them in a comment below and we could feature them in a future blog post.