Removing And Preventing Ice Dams

Ice dams are a damaging winter roofing problem caused probably by a combination of poor roof ventilation or attic and warm attic spaces. Besides, they can be exacerbated by a poorly draining or clogged gutter system. If not removed in time, ice dams can result in serious damage to your paint, interior drywall, roof, insulation, gutters, and other surfaces. Here is how to remove and prevent ice dams.

In most states, it’s possible to find houses with no ice dams. Such homes can prevent ice dams by controlling the heat loss from their homes.

Removing Ice Dams: Immediate Action

Remove all the snow from your roof. This process eliminates one of the most important ingredients necessary for the development of an ice dam. Use a push broom and roof rake to remove the snow and do so carefully to avoid damaging the your commercial or flat roofing materials.

In the worst cases where water is already flowing into your house, create channels through the ice dam. This allows the water behind it to drain off your roof. You can also hose the water during a warm day. Remember, the channel will become inefficient within a few days, and it’s only a temporary solution to problems associated with ice dams.

Long-Term Action

It’s advisable to make the ceiling airtight. This ensures no warm, moist air escapes from the house to the attic space. Once you seal the airspace between the attic space and the house, consider increasing the roof insulation or ceiling to minimize heat loss by conduction.

Note that these actions will increase the overall snow load on your roof. Inspect your roof and evaluate the snow load to determine if your roof can effectively carry additional snow. Hire a professional engineer to help you evaluate the snow load and the roof as well. In case your roof is weak, you may want to install an efficient snow melting system.

Natural roof ventilation can also help in maintaining a uniform roof temperature, and this eliminates the need for a roof de-icing system. By reducing the heat transfer significantly, the snow will build up on the roof and definitely cover the roof ventilation system. This reduces the attic ventilation rates.

How To Prevent Ice Dams In New Homes

The most effective way of preventing the formation of ice dams in new homes is by following all the state code requirements for roof insulation or ceiling installation. You can also construct a continuous (100%) effective air barrier through the entire ceiling. Remember, you should prevent any form of air leakage from the house space into the attic space. Complex roof designs, recessed lights, heating ducts in the attic and skylights will only heighten the risk of ice dam formation.

Impact Of Ice Dams

The moisture entering your home from ice dams can result in the growth of mildew and mold. These are some of the organisms that cause respiratory issues. It’s important to prevent the growth of mold and mildew by immediately drying the sections of your house that are wet.