Protecting Your Roof From Ice Dams
I know it’s still summer, so why am I talking about ice dams on your roof now?
Simple…this is the best time of year to do some maintenance on your home to prevent them from happening in the winter.
The outward symptom of an ice dam is when those beautiful but damaging icicles appear during the cold winter months…who knew they could mean problems for your roof, your attic and your rain gutters.
How do ice dams begin?
Two things contribute to their existence:
- They can form if your attic is too warm because it’s not vented properly. What can happen is that heat from your house rises and finds its way into your attic. With poor ventilation, your attic becomes too warm and will melt the first layer of snow that is sitting on it.
- Why is that a problem? Because the runoff will travel down your roof and to your gutters and eaves where it refreezes and you have the beginning of icicles and ice dams.
- The other thing that is a big contributor is dirty or full rain gutters. You’ll notice I called them rain gutters, because rain is what belongs in them …not dirt and debris that has a tendency to accumulate there. Excess “stuff” in your gutters freezes, blocking the exit of any runoff, allowing it to back up and re-freeze in your gutters.
The problem with ice dams…
If the runoff from the house is too great and has no way of escaping, it will back up and pool behind the dam and will probably find its way under your shingles where it will begin to leak into your attic. Along with causing leaks, they have been known to loosen your shingles, and because they can become so heavy they can pull your gutters right off the house.
My guess is that you’ll look at icicles a bit differently from now on.
If you want to avoid costly repairs to your home, the wise thing would be to get your rain gutters cleaned out every year during the summer or fall.
I have cleaned a lot of gutters, and I have seen everything from “gardens” growing in them to debris that is packed in so solid that it comes out in one piece. My best advice is to make it a regular task to either do it yourself or hire someone to clean them for you.
Give me a call for a free estimate.