Ice dams often occur following a heavy snowstorm and the onset of low temperatures. Ice dams form when the snow at the peak of the roof melts, which causes the melted water to run down the slope of the roof until it refreezes as it reaches the colder surfaces at the eaves of your roof. Eventually, the ice builds up and blocks water from draining off of the roof, forcing the water under the roof covering and into your attic or down the inside walls of the building.
Tips for preventing ice dams
- Keep snow from accumulating on the lower three to six feet of your roof.
- Keep the attic well ventilated so snow doesn’t melt and refreeze on the roof’s edge.
- Make sure the attic floor is well insulated to minimize the amount of heat rising.
- Consider having the snow removed from your roof.
- Make sure your gutters are clear of leaves and debris.
- When all else fails, install heat cables on the roof. Heat cables are high-resistance wires that you mount on the roof edge in a zigzag pattern and plug into an outdoor GFCI receptacle.
Removing an ice dam
- If you are not safely able to go onto the roof or are unable to easily reach the roof, hire a roofing professional.
- Use a heavy duty broom or rake to pull snow off the roof. Do not push snow back or sideways as it may cause more damage.
- Do not chip at the ice dam as it may damage your roof.
Be proactive! Develop a plan and execute!