Home & Garden

What Causes Ice Dams?

It’s hard to believe a heat sunny working day in the winter can really be triggering big damage to your dwelling, but it’s true. That is due to the fact the runoff water from the melting snow (both equally from the warmth of the sunshine and warmth inside your attic), will run down to the edge of the roof. If it gets caught there and refreezes, it can type a ridge of ice, aka an ice dam.

As much more snow melts, the dam grows, trapping continue to much more water in a vicious, chilly cycle. As it builds up, the water can get the job done it’s way underneath the shingles and commence to rot your roof, or even drip ideal into your dwelling.

Does Attic Insulation Assist?

Indeed, good attic insulation can enable cut down the probability of ice dams forming, but insulation by yourself won’t be able to do it. Protecting against ice dams also calls for good attic ventilation that makes it possible for airflow and movement via the attic underneath the roof.

A correctly insulated home ought to have at the very least R-38 insulation (or even better in northern regions), but only earlier mentioned the dwelling place of the dwelling. The regions more than the soffits in the overhang ought to be uninsulated, with openings to permit for air movement

Exterior air arrives in via the soffits at the base of the roof, is effective its way up the underside of the roof and out the best via roof or ridge vents.

This cold outside air moving via the attic allows preserve the temperature of the underside of the roof equivalent to that of the outside air.

What Results in Ice Dams?

The problem is that most households really don’t have satisfactory insulation. But even if they do, there are generally continue to air leaks from inside the dwelling into the attic (from plumbing stacks, pot lights, and attic access doors, and many others.). All of these opening permit warmed air to get into the attic, raising the temperature.

As attic air warms, it raises the temperature of the underside of the roof, serving to the snow soften. The melted water trickles down the warmed roof until it reaches the overhang earlier mentioned the soffits. Here, the temperature starts off to match the outside air (i.e. colder than the air in the attic) and it freezes. The tiny ridge of ice grows and an ice dam commences to type, blocking the water from running off the roof. Finally the runoff water can again up underneath the shingles and into the roof itself.

icicles on the side of a house

What Can I Do if I Get an Ice Dam?

In the short phrase there are a number of issues you can do.

Use a roof rake or drive broom to clear away snow from the roof. Acquiring rid of the snow will cut down the sum of water running off the roof. Except if you really don’t have a preference, it’s generally not a terrific notion to go onto the roof for this action. In extremely cold weather this can be dangerous, and your stomping all around can very easily damage frozen shingles.

Utilizing a hose or heat water to minimize some ‘channels’ via the ice dam will give openings for the melted snow to run off the roof. Naturally this is only a short-term correct, but it will enable lower the opportunity damage.


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