Top 4 Reasons Ice Dams Happen

How Ice Dams Form HotEdgeWhat Causes Ice Dams?

Ice dams are small to large walls of ice that form on a roof’s edge, these ice dams prevent snowmelt water from reaching the roof edge and draining properly.  Many homeowners ignore ice dams as they appear harmless at a glance. However, this seemingly harmless wall of ice can be incredibly destructive and harmful. At HotEdge, we are often asked by new clients why an ice dam forms, so we offer these top 4 reasons:

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  1. Ice dams could not form without snow! Snow means freezing temperatures and doesn’t not have to be deep or heavy to cause an ice dam. It can be a light snow fall and if the freeze and thaw cycles that follow are just right, a problematic ice dam will develop.
  2. Ambient temperature changes are the number one reason ice dams form. Roof decks heat up from the sun in the daytime and refreeze at night.  These freeze and thaw cycles are an ice dam’s best friend. Snowmelt water created by the sun rolls down the roof deck until the temperature drops below freezing.  Once this happens, the snowmelt water freezes and ice dams form.
  3. Poor attic insulation: if an attic is not insulated, ice dams most likely will develop.  If an attic is insulated properly, ice dams can still develop. Many get sold on the idea if they insulate the attic, all ice dam and icicle problems will go away. By solving the problem of snowmelt water that is created from heated attics and ambient temperature changes first, ice dams will not develop! Spending money to insulate an attic should be the last consideration since a properly insulated attic cannot alter the effect of ambient temperature changes.
  4. Clogged gutters: Gutters become cold metal during the winter months when temperatures drop below freezing. Because of this, snowmelt water will travel to the gutter and refreeze. Once this process begins, a gutter trough will quickly fill with expanding ice and eventually this ice platform will grow over a roof edge and ice dam will quickly develop.

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For an effective, simple, and affordable ice dam prevention system, please contact our expert customer support team by calling 1-800-411-3296 and learn more about how HotEdge has developed a revolutionary and accredited roof ice melt system for all roof structures.


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