Elevation Can Have an Affect on Ice Dams


Ice Dam Problems are a Greater Risk For Homes at a Higher Elevation

Ice Dam Problems are a Greater Risk For Homes at a Higher ElevationRoof ice dam problems start to happen when the temperature dips down below 22 degrees. Cold air mixes with the heat generated by the building and solar radiation, snow melt runs down the roof, and refreezes over the lower level of ice. If your home is at a higher elevation, where colder temperatures and winter weather are more common, this vicious cycle can repeat itself over and over again until large ice dams are formed.

How Elevation Affects Ice Dam Formation

The NRCA (National Roofing Contractors Association) recommends that homeowners implement some form of ice dam protection if they live in areas where the average temperature in January is 30F or lower – i.e. the northern region of the United States. Areas that are at higher elevations are especially vulnerable to ice dam attacks.

The higher the altitude, the lower the temperature. For every 1,000 feet you climb, the temperature drops 3.5F. This means that you’re at much greater risk for ice dam formation if you live in high elevation areas.

Areas that are close to the equator are the only exception. Although temperatures are still cooler in these regions, winters may not get cold enough to produce snow or ice and allow for ice dam formation. 

And at higher elevations, those cold temperatures often lead to more winter weather. Naturally, higher elevation areas see more snowfall. It’s also more common to see fog and low-lying clouds at higher altitudes.

With colder temperatures and more snowfall, you’ll see more ice dams at higher elevations. And if there are other contributing factors involved, the problem is amplified, such as:

  • Poor roof ventilation
  • Under-insulated roofs
  • Inadequate air barriers
  • Hot spots in ceiling spaces and attics

Prevent Ice Dams with HotEdge

If you live at a higher elevation and in an area where cold winter temperatures are common, it’s extremely important to take steps to prevent ice dams. Taking a proactive approach will help prevent costly roof damage, water damage or roof replacement. Call HotEdge today to discuss ice dam removal options. (800) 411-3296


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