Melting Snow Leads to Ice Dams
(OnFocus) Ice dams can cause expensive water damage to the home if not addressed.
Melting snow will run down a roof and freeze again near the edge, forming a ridge of ice that prevents proper drainage. This may lead to roof damage and water leaking inside the home.
“The warm temps are creating an unseasonal melting which will soon freeze and will increase the likelihood of an ice dam,” said Nick Arnoldy, owner/broker at Marshfield Insurance. “If you have the means, you should take precautions and clear the edges of your roof, preferably with a roof rake or hired contractor. We’ve had a few calls today on this issue already!”
During cold winter months, the icicles on a home’s eaves may be a sign that a ridge of ice is forming at the edge of the roof. If an ice dam forms, sprinkle a melting compound to break it up. Avoid using traditional rock salt, as it may cause further damage and faster deterioration of your gutters.
To prevent the formation of ice dams:
- Keep the attic well ventilated. According to the Department of Energy, one square foot of free ventilation opening is recommended for every 150 square feet of attic space.
- Seal air leaks to prevent warm air leakage from plumbing vents, junction boxes from ceiling fixtures and attic hatches.
- Keep the attic floor well insulated (between 16 and 22 inches of insulation) to minimize the amount of heat rising into the attic from below.
- Clean leaves and other debris from gutters before the first snow. This will help prevent ice buildup in your gutters.
- Consider using an ice shield under your shingles when your house is getting re-roofed.
- Use a roof rake to clear the snow above the gutter. Clear as much as three to four feet above the gutter to allow water to drain freely into the gutter.
- Consider hiring an energy specialist to evaluate the performance of your home and recommend some things you can do to minimize energy waste.