Why Do I Have Ice Dams On My Roof?

Harsher winters bring more ice and snow, which can lead to ice dams sitting on your roof and eaves. Ice dams can damage your roof and gutters and cause interior water damage.

The good news is, you can prevent ice damming before it happens. Read on to learn what ice dams are, how they form, and what you can do to prevent ice damming on your roof.

What Are Ice Dams?

An ice dam is a chunk of ice that sits on the edge of a roof, which is also called the eave. It's a problem that can happen in any snowy climate.

Ice dams block melting snow from properly draining into the gutters. Since the water can't flow to the gutters, it sits just above the dam or leaks through your roof.

How Do They Form?

After it snows, the heat from the sun and the warm air in your attic melts the snow on your roof. Ideally, that water will run to your gutters and flow out the drainpipe.

But, if the peak of your roof is warmer than the eaves, the water will run down the roof and refreeze at the eaves. Ice dams happen when a roof has uneven surface temperatures.

You might have uneven temperatures on your roof if your attic isn't properly insulated or ventilated. These are the two most important qualities of an efficient roof.

The Dangers of Ice Dams

The real danger of ice damming is the water that collects above it. If this water stays liquid, it will make its way under the shingles, through your roof decking, and into your attic. It can then leak through to your ceilings.

These water leaks can lead to mould growth and structural issues. Those issues can harm your air quality and lead to more expensive repairs down the road.

How to Prevent Ice Dams

To prevent ice dams from forming in the first place, check for air leaks in your attic and seal them up with caulk. You can also add insulation to your attic.

If you don't have enough attic ventilation, you may want to have a ridge vent or soffit vents installed. This will keep your attic cool so the snow doesn't melt too quickly.

If you already have ice dams, you can install a heat cable on your eaves. This will melt the ice gradually so it can drain into the gutters. A professional can also steam it off for you.

You can also use a snow rake to remove some of the snow from your roof. If you take the snow off the roof, it won't have a chance to melt and leak through.

Protect Your Home From Ice Damming Today

Ice damming can cause expensive damage to your roof and gutters. It can even cause water damage inside your home.

When it comes to ice dams, the best solution is to prevent them from forming in the first place. With proper ventilation and insulation, you can lower your risk of ice dams.

If you're not sure where to begin, Warm Home Insulation can help. We have more than 40 years of experience insulating Winnipeg homes. Contact us today to find out how we insulate your home to prevent ice dams.