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Ice Damming Problems

It’s winter again. And with it comes frequent slippery roads, reduced visibility, and many other wintering conditions. Winter is also known for the icicles that give buildings an attractive look.

That’s when you need to watch out because icicles might indicate the presence of ice dams, which can damage your roof and home.

But what exactly is an ice dam?

Winter Snow
Image by Vitor Vilas Boas

What’s an ice dam?
 

Ice dams form when internal heat melts the snow on the warm section of the roof. The melting snow (water) flows down, gets to the freezing part, and form ice dams. As more snow melts, more ice dams form at the edge of your roof until it covers the entire freezing portion. With no way out, the water in the warm section backs up and finds its way through your ceiling into your home, damaging walls, ceilings, and insulation.

Effects of ice damming

 

Causes Mold & Mildew
 

Ice damn causes moisture to enter your home, providing the perfect environment for mold and mildew to grow. Aside from causing structural damage, mold and mildew are harmful to health.

Damages Shingles

Though they give your home a quaint look, icicles are heavy and can rip off gutters attached to your roof and damage the shingles. Paints also peel off, and drywall and plaster are also damaged.

Energy Efficiency

The damage isn’t restricted to shingles, paints, and drywalls. Water can find its way into your attic, damaging your insulation. This reduces its heat-retaining capacity, making you spend more on energy.

Structural Damage

If left unchecked, water can seep into the wall and cause paints to blister and fall off. Water also weakens beams and other structural supports. All these will cost a lot of money to fix.

Detecting ice dam

Detecting the presence of ice dams can be crucial in reducing the extent of the damage. After a snowfall, check for warm areas on the roof, which you’ll usually find around chimneys and air vents. Also, check for wet stains on walls and ceilings. You also want to look at your attic to make sure water isn’t dripping.

Preventing ice damming problems

Ice dams form because warm air escapes through the ceiling to melt snow on the roof. To prevent ice dams, you have to prevent warm air from getting to the roof. There are a number of ways to do this.

First, ensure the attic is properly insulated to prevent air escape. If your attic hatch is unsealed, a stripping cap will prevent internal heat from escaping into the attic. Also, ensure your attic is well insulated so that air can stay in the attic. Sealing all gaps on the roof through which water could leak into the home also helps eliminate ice damming problems.

What if you already have an ice damming problem?

If ice dams had already damaged your roof before you had the chance to carry out the preventive tips above, you need not worry. Like most homeowners, you probably have a homeowners insurance policy that covers you if ice dams damage your property.

Not sure if your homeowners’ insurance covers ice-related damages or would love to know how this insurance can protect your roof and your property? Get in touch with us to schedule a consultation. We’ll be glad to respond to all your queries!

Image by Héloïse Delbos
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