Dealing With Ice Dams? 4 Prevention Tips
When a thick ridge of ice forms along the edge of your home’s roof — a phenomenon known as an ice dam — it can prevent melting snow from draining off the top of your house. If that water sits on your roof for an extended period, it can leak inside your home, causing damage to ceilings, walls, and insulation. In many cases, severe ice dams also necessitate prompt roof repairs.
Ice dams are bad news for any homeowner, but the good news is, there are several ways you can prevent them from forming. And if you’re already dealing with a potentially damaging ice dam, there are simple methods you can use to get rid of it. We’ll take a look at the most effective ice dam prevention and removal tactics below.
Update Your Attic Insulation
A primary cause of ice dam formation is inadequate attic insulation. When your attic doesn’t have enough insulation, it can’t prevent the heat inside your home from transferring through your ceiling. That heat then transfers through the roof decking, melting the snow on the uppermost portions of your roof.
As the snow melts and runoff travels down the slope of the roof, that water refreezes when it reaches the colder edge of the decking. So begins the formation of an ice dam. As this cycle continues, a thick ridge of ice builds, which prevents additional snowmelt from draining off the roof.
Adding extra layers of insulation inside your attic will effectively control heat transfer into the space. This not only prevents the snow on your roof from melting but also helps keep the interior of your home warmer. Win-win.
Improve Roof Ventilation With Soffit Vents
A properly ventilated attic flushes warm air out while drawing cool outdoor air in. This process maintains a reasonable temperature inside the space, which prevents the surface of the roof from becoming warm enough to melt snow. If you’re struggling with recurring ice dams, inadequate ventilation may be a cause.
You can remedy this issue by having additional soffit vents installed around the perimeter of your roof. Depending on the current condition of the underside of your eaves, opting for complete soffit replacement may be a more cost-effective choice long term.
Gutter Guard Installation
If your gutters are prone to debris accumulation, they can easily become clogged, which prevents runoff from exiting your roof efficiently. And when water accumulates and freezes inside your gutters, it can contribute to the formation of an ice dam.
Fortunately, there’s a simple way to keep your gutters clog free without a ladder or manual labor: gutter guard installation. Gutter guards attach to the top of your gutter system to prevent leaves, sticks, pine needles, and other outdoor debris from entering the channels and impeding water flow.
It’s important to note, however, that while gutter guards are highly effective at keeping your gutters free of debris, they won’t prevent ice dams on their own. They will allow your roof drain water more efficiently, which helps create the proper conditions to prevent ice dams from forming.
Prevention: Remove Snow From Your Roof Promptly
Even if your attic has plenty of insulation and your roof is properly ventilated, there’s still a chance you might deal with ice dams during a particularly harsh winter. This is where prompt snow removal comes in.
After a heavy snow, grab a roof rake and head outside to rake the snow buildup off your roof. The less snow you have sitting on your roof, the less runoff the roof will need to handle. And the less runoff there is, the lower the likelihood of an ice dam developing.
Need Roof Repairs After an Ice Dam?
If you’re dealing with roof damage caused by an ice dam or severe winter weather, get in touch with our team at Eastern Roofing & Siding today. We specialize in roof repair and replacement for homeowners throughout Cottage Grove, Inver Grove Heights, Woodbury, and the surrounding areas. If you’re looking to improve your attic ventilation, we also specialize in soffit repair and replacement. To schedule an appointment or learn more about how we can help you, give us a call at 651-238-1313 or contact us online.