Winter carries with it a variety of hazards and concerns. And despite all the fun snow days and ice skating, it’s a valid concern for many homeowners to worry about their homes and the effects of serious winter weather conditions.
Ice and snow damming ranks as one of the more damaging issues. When the dams form, they can cause water to collect and leak through the roof. Here are a few ways to prevent damming and minimize the potential damage.
The Causes Of Ice Dams
Ice dams form when there’s a difference in temperature across your roof. As the snow melts it begins to run off your roof. Once it gets far enough down where the temperature of your roof drops to below freezing again, the water remelts and forms a pattern of ice dams along the edge. The portions that are higher up on your roof continue to heat and melt the snow feeding the ice dam.
At some point, the water no longer cools and collects behind the ice dam. As the water sits it may start leaking into the interior spaces of your home where the damage can be extensive.
How To Prevent Ice Dams
There are a few proven ways to minimize ice dams and aid in preventing them. Roof ventilation is one such way to even out the temperature across your roof.
With roof ventilation, colder outside air circulates into your attic and prevents warming from the interior of your home. By keeping the temperature below freezing point, no water run-off will occur, and you’ll reduce the chances of ice dams forming.
Another way to prevent ice dams is with insulation in your ceilings. By insulating your ceilings, you prevent the warm air from within your home from leaking up into your attic and the underside of your roof. This eliminates the above freezing phenomenon and stops water from running off your roof.
If you have heater ducts that flow through your attic, these may also contribute to the warming situation. Insulating them or investing in a reroute will help minimize warming and keep your roof from developing ice dams.
A less favorable way to prevent ice dams is to install electric heat cables along the perimeter of your roof, just above your roof gutters. Once installed, the heat from these cables will prevent ice from forming and the water will flow off your roof. The biggest concern with this method is the mixing of electricity with water. Though most cables are safe, it’s important to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for installation and cable usage.
Be sure to keep your gutters clean, use a roof rake during heavy snowfalls, chip off any ice and hire a professional when in doubt.
Ice dams don’t have to be a constant nuisance. With the right commitment to prevention, you can minimize the damage and enjoy your winters worry-free. Regular roof inspection also helps in making sure your roof is up to the rigor of winter weather. Consult your roofing professional when in doubt and be sure to schedule inspections as needed.
For more information and speak with an expert give Roof Doctors a call!
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