While icicles might give your home an appealing appearance during winter, they are just a symptom of even greater issues known as ice dams. Ice dams can ruin your house because they inhibit melting ice and snow from draining as they should be.
In time, these ice dams can result in rot, water leaks onto the ceiling, and mold. However, there is no need to panic just yet. We have listed ten ways you can lessen damage to your house from ice dams. So, what are they?
What is an Ice Dam?
Ice dams occur when the air in your attic becomes amply warm to heat the bottom side of your roof. This causes thawing to the snow on the roof. As the snow melts, it runs down the top of the roof, it reaches an area near the roof edge that is below the freezing point.
At this point, the melting snow freezes again, forming a ridge of ice that blocks any other runoff. This is also known as an ice dam. As the snow continues to melt and the buildup carries on, it will start going under the shingles and seeping into your home.
Also, ice dams form on gutters that fail to drain properly. They can also form in less-insulated places such as around skylights.
Ice Dam Prevention
Once your roof gets ice dams, your priority should be getting rid of them a soon as possible to prevent further damage to the interior and exterior of your home. Here are a few ways you can keep your roof free of ice dams.
Some ice dam removal methods involve physically removing snow from your roof while others involve keeping your attic’s temperature low to prevent heat transfer. You can try one of the following methods of preventing ice dams:
1. Adding Attic Insulation
The main aim of adding insulation to your attic is to prevent heat transfer through the roof. This heat is responsible for the thawing and freezing cycle. You can add an extra layer of insulation to your attic that is about eight to ten inches.
This will not only prevent the transfer of heat to the roof but will also retain heat within your home. So, you will have to spend a little money to keep your home warm and simultaneously prevent the formation of ice dams on your roof.
2. Sealing Airflow Leaks
You should ensure airflow leaks in the attic are completely sealed. It would be pointless to insulate the attic and then warm air from the living space finds its way into the attic through vents and gaps. The attic will become warm, transferring the heat onto the roof.
Taking care of such airflow entails sealing any spaces around sewer vent pipes. You should also reroute the dryer and bathroom vents from the attic through the exterior wall of the house. You can use reliable insulating foam to seal airflow leaks.
3. Raking off the Snow
After a heavy snowfall, this is arguably the simplest way to prevent ice dams formation. A snow rake is simply a scraper mounted on an aluminum pole. If you pull the snow down occasionally after a snowfall, the melted snow will not get a chance to refreeze, forming ice dams.
The method is quite effective but can be a bit tedious. Also, it is only effective if your home is single-storied because anything higher will be out of your reach. You also have to be careful not to break the shingles which can get brittle in icy weather.
4. Using Calcium Chloride
Calcium chloride is another effective way to melt ice on your roof. This method melts ice dams that have already formed. However, if you are going to deice your roof using calcium chloride, you have to have to keep any plants under the gutter safe.
Overexposure to calcium chloride will eventually kill the plants. To deice your roof, fill a stocking with the chemical and lay it at an angle that is perpendicular to the roof’s edge. After this, the ice dams should begin disappearing.
5. Improve Ventilation in the Attic
Achieving a complete stop to heat loss is not easy. Prolonging your roof’s life may require properly ventilating your attic space. For this task, you may need to hire a professional roofer. A combination of a properly insulated attic and improved ventilation will solve and prevent your ice dam problems in the future. Inadequate ventilation will lead to a warm roof and higher chances of ice dam damage.
6. Capping the Attic Hatch
You should use a weather-stripping cap to seal unsealed attic hatches. This will prevent warm air from creeping in via the attic floor, melting the snow on the roof to cause ice dam formation.
7. Chimney Flashing
This is a metal strip that ensures water does not penetrate your home through the chimney. You should install it to seal any gaps where cold wind, water, and ice can creep in.
8. Check the Lights
If you have unsealed can lights or other fixtures, you are unknowingly adding heat to your attic. Not only that, but you are putting your house at risk of fire. You should change these lights to ones with an IC-rated fitting.
9. Installing an Ice-and-Water Barrier
If you are roofing or re-roofing your home, this is the perfect opportunity to install an ice-and-water barrier. It adds a great layer of protection and is a requirement for homes in most states. If you are not re-roofing, adding it can be quite cost-prohibitive. This is because you have to dismantle the entire roof, add in the barrier, and re-roof again.
10. Using an Ice Melt System
An ice melting system that is discreetly integrated into roofing panels is an effective way of melting ice dams. The heating element does not use too much energy and is completely hidden.
At HotEdge, we use a combination of various products to ensure meltwater does not refreeze, forming ice dams, cost-effectively. Our roof ice melt systems use the energy-saving ice melting cables known as Less Heat Trace Cable. Also, our roof edge panel system has passed the UL Standards and allows affordable maintenance, replacement, and inspection.
For more on keeping your roof ice dams free, visit HotEdge Roof Ice Melt at our office in Denver, Colorado. You can also call +1 (877) 220-5066 to get a free estimate today.