Looking Up at the Ice Dam

Looking Up at the Ice Dam (Photo credit: BoSoxBrent)

The ridge or crest of ice you see hanging by your roof during winter season is called an ice dam. Ice dams prevent water from draining off the roof; what happens is the snow on the roof melts because of the heat that has escaped from the inside of the house through insulation or because of direct sunlight on your roof which then causes the water from the melting snow to back up in arrears of the dam where it could leak to your home.

Ice dams can be both beautiful and dangerous. As pretty as they appear, they are similarly dangerous to any one as it can cause serious injuries. Here are 3 things you need to know about ice dams:

How is ice dams formed?

Some ice dams can grow very rapidly while others may take a longer time from days to weeks to form. A series of melting and freezing take place as snow collects on the roof; the melting snow (water) runs down the roof until it reaches a cooler area where it solidifies and becomes ice.

As ice continues to build up, it forms a dam of ice obstructing water from absconding off the roof; this pooling of water is now confined in the ice dam where it tries to find an escape – that is, through the shingles where it leaks through the attic.

How dangerous are these ice dams?

Ice will begin to accumulate within and under the shingles; this then breaks the seals in the roof, the very thing that keeps it from flying away during strong winds or storms. Similarly, since there is water and ice accumulation, it becomes an environment for moulds to form.  Moulds can cause severe damage on the roof and even cause cavities and insect infestation. If not prevented, you might need to replace a rotten roof.

How can we prevent ice dam formation?

The increased temperature in your attic and the cold temperature outside are the usual causes for snow melting on the roof. Lowering the attic temperature can help the snow from melting. You can either add extra attic insulation or provide sufficient attic ventilation to prevent ice dam formation in general. A colder attic will prevent snow from melting, thus no accumulation of snow (water) on the dam is formed.

It is important that you know what these iced dams are, how they are formed and the means you can prevent the formation so you know exactly how to deal with them appropriately. When you begin to understand its basics, you’ll know the basic solutions as well. However, there is always the option of calling in ice dam removal services from your place to provide you with better solutions to this problem especially if you know little about this phenomenon.

Ice dams can be very serious health threats to residents and they need prompt and accurate interventions. While many look pass this problem, many have also suffered the consequences of doing such and being passive about it. Let’s not wait for unwanted events to occur before we take action. Now that you know the basics about ice dams, the next step to figure out solutions to this problem.

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