Icicles can look like a beautiful winter decoration etched onto your roof. But before you marvel at those shard-like pieces of ice, remember that they are usually an indication of a much bigger problem- a roof ice dam.
An ice dam is a mound of ice that forms around the edges of your roof at certain times in the winter. Ice dams are formed when warm air from the interior of your house rises from your ceiling, through your attic, and onto the underside of your roof.
The warm temperature melts the layers of snow accumulated on the roof and the snowmelt trickles down as water onto the roof shingles where it settles on the eave of your roof.
Since the eave is the part of the roof that extends to the sides of the house, it never receives the warmth generated within your house’s interior. Ultimately, the water freezes and gradually solidifies to form an ice dam.
Why Should You Fear Ice Dams Forming on Your Roof?
Ice dams are a common cause of destruction for any homeowner living in regions that experience freezing temperatures from severe winter weather. That’s because the more the ice piles up, the heavier it becomes. Eventually, it may tear off your gutters or damage your roof shingles, compelling you to do pay for roof repairs.
The melted snow can even leak into your house. Once the water from the melting ice gets into your home, the damage can get much worse; from destroying your ceilings to damaging your walls and floors. In even worse cases, the roof might cave in. The water can also lead to damp spots around your house, which will encourage mold growth.
As for the torn-off gutters, they may fall on anything on their way, be it shrubs, windowsills, vehicles, animals, or even people.
So, as you can expect, the risk of having an ice dam lingering in your roof is too great. But not all is doom and gloom as you can implement some measures to prevent such situations from ever happening.
Tips to Help Your Prevent Ice Dams on Your Roof
There are a couple of strategies you can consider to prevent ice dams on your roof. Bear in mind that some are more practical and long-lasting than others. Here’s what you can do:
- Rake Off Snow Regularly
Removing snow and ice regularly from your roof is a direct approach to avoid ice dams from forming. You can either do it while on the roof or a ladder using a roof rake or a push broom.
A ladder will give you a vantage position from where you can access hard-to-reach areas.
However, if you decide to go for this method, beware of the safety risks. Snow and icy weather make for slippery conditions and may end up with you plunging from the roof if you’re not careful. Also, if you try to remove snow from below or on a ladder, it may come tumbling down towards you, possibly resulting in great injury.
- Make Your Ceiling as Airtight as Possible
Ice dams form because of uneven temperature between the interior and exterior of your house. So, one of the best ways to prevent this from happening is to ensure warm air doesn’t get to your roof by sealing your ceilings completely to keep the warm air inside.
- Seal and Insulate Your HVAC Ducts
To ensure no heat is conducted outside, you might want to seal and insulate all your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning cables. Cover HVAC and exhaust ducts joints with fiber-reinforced mastic. We would recommend using either R-5 or R-6 foil-faced fiberglass for the insulation.
- Switch to a Metal Roof
You can also consider replacing your shingles roof with a metal roof. Metalworks as an insulator, preventing warm and cold air from flowing in and out of the house. This feature makes the possibility of ice dams forming much lower.
Metal roof snow bars would also come in handy. Snow and ice guards for metal roofs help prevent roof avalanches which can be dangerous for humans and pets.
- Remove Recessed Lighting Fixtures
Recessed lighting is an old technique of installing lights inside a ceiling or wall. While these lights can look subtle and beautiful, they are impossible to seal and generate considerable heat. The heat eventually flows to the roof, increasing the likelihood of ice dams.
So, consider replacing these fixtures with sealed IC lights.
- Seal the Space Between Your Chimney and House Framing
The chimney can also be a significant source of heat loss. So, you ideally want to reinforce the gap between it and the framing of your home. Install L-Shape Corner steel flashing and keep it in place using a good fire-stop sealant.
- Install a Roof Ice Melt System
Perhaps the easiest and most effective of these methods is installing a robust ice-melt system for your roof. Basically, ice melt systems melt ice and snow on the edges of your roof so that it can trickle down and out through the gutters consequently preventing ice dams, protecting your roof and house in the process.
Removing Ice Dams from Your Roof: Quick Pointers
Say your roof already has an ice dam that you want to get rid of. What can you do?
- Try loosening and getting the snow off the roof in small chunks using a blunt mallet
- Use potassium or calcium chloride ice melters to get the ice off the gutters (avoid salt as it will cause damage to your plants, paint, and even metal.
- Contact a professional to do the work to avoid damaging your roof or injuring yourself.
Want to Prevent Ice Dams Before They Occur? Install the HotEdge Ice Melt System and Forget the Stress
Short-term solutions to ice dams can only last you for so long before you get tired of them and seek something more permanent. At HotEdge, we understand the dangers and frustrations that icicles and ice dams can bring to a homeowner in Denver, CO.
So, we’ve developed a new, cutting-edge ice melting system to help you remove ice from our roof to help save our energy costs and ensure the longevity of your asphalt shingle roof, wood shake roof, our concrete tile roof. Need proof? Check out our roof ice melt systems reviews.
Give us a call at (303) 578-4987 for more information about our solutions.