Those hanging icicles along the eaves of your house may look pretty, but they spell trouble. You read that right!
Icicles may look beautiful, but they can loosen shingles, tear off your gutters and can cause serious damage to your roof, insulation, and drywall. When that happens, you won’t love the results- stained ceilings, peeling paint, and warped floors.
Ice dams are damaging winter roofing problems that are caused by warm attic space and poor roof or attic ventilation. A clogged draining gutter system can also cause ice dams.
What are ice dams?
Ice dams are a build-up of icicles on the eaves of sloped roofs and prevent melting slowly from draining off the roof. The formed ice dams can cause damage to walls, insulation, ceiling and other parts of the house.
What Causes Ice Dams?
Ice dams are caused by the melting of snow and ice on the roof that collects in the gutters and refreezing, preventing further draining of liquid water and increasing the weight along the gutters that can lead to failure and damage. It can also be caused by a brief warm spell that causes snow and ice to melt and then quickly refreeze when the temperature drops. Lastly and most catastrophic is when an ice storm caused the dams followed by melting of snow to increase the build-up of the ice dams.
Damages Associated with Ice Dams
Ice dams can cause significant damage to:
- electrical system
- and other areas of your house
Do you have an ice dam?
Ice dams usually form on the edge of your roof, but they may also develop in other areas depending on the style, slope, and orientation of your roof. It’s advisable to always monitor the weather and check your roof regularly for signs for ice dams.
Check the exterior of your house.
Look closely at the icicles on the exterior of your house and remove them. If you are not confident to do the job, the best way to go is to hire a contractor to assist you in ice dam removal.
Check your attic or ceiling for water stains.
Water stains or moisture in your attic or ceiling may be a sign that an ice dam has developed and water has already made its way to the roof membrane.
How To Prevent Ice Dams
Prevention of ice dams can be done in some ways. Let’s take a look at them.
Minimize Heat Sources in the Attic
This can be as simple as not leaving a light on, or putting electrical appliances in the attic just because there is room. It’s not a good idea to store things in the attic.
Improve Ventilation in the Attic
Increasing ventilation in the attic will also slow down or at least make the melting more natural with the ambient temperature. Sometimes the ice from an ice storm can block the ventilation causing heat to build up in the attic.
Increase Attic Floor Insulation
Increased insulation in the floor of the attic prevents heat within the house or attic from melting the snow on the roof. Remember the point is to keep the snow from melting and creating the ice dams in the first place until you can remove the snow.
Keep Gutters Clean
Keeping the gutter and downpipes clean so water is less likely to accumulate when snow melting occurs is probably the most important prevention tactic. There are also gutter products that keep leaves out while letting water through that can help significantly.
Use a Roof Rake
The least expansive way to prevent ice dams is to remove the snow before it melts and a roof rake is designed specifically for that. A roof rake can be purchased at almost any hardware or home depot.
How To Remove Ice Dams
If you are away for some time and cannot remove the snow before it melts and creates an ice dam, you must eliminate the ice dams as quickly as you can. Ice dam removal methods are varied. Let’s check them out.
Use Ice Melt Products
You can use chemicals to melt the snow and ice. However, bear in mind that they do not work instantly and can even make the situation worse if you run out of the chemicals before the ice dams are broken. Some of the ice melt products are:
- Sodium Chloride (Rock Salt), most common
- Calcium Chloride
- Magnesium Chloride
- Potassium Chloride and Urea
- Sodium Acetate or Calcium Magnesium Acetate
- or some commercial products that contain some of these same active ingredients.
Hire a Long Island Roofing Professional
You can hire a reliable Long Island roofing company to help you eliminate those troubling icicles on your roof. When hiring a pro, don’t just focus on the ice removal prices. Just because a company offers cheap ice dam removal services does not that it’s the best choice for you. Look for companies that do more than just ice dam removal. Look for Long Island roofing contractors that can provide you with a comprehensive solution both for prevention and removal..
Don’t be complacent!
If you get a large amount of snow accumulation, don’t wait for the ice dams to form or worse, wait for damage to occur. Get ahead of the game and prevent ice dams from forming or eliminate them as quickly as possible. Be safe, don’t climb up on your roof with a step ladder and buckets of hot water thinking that will do the trick.
Contact an Ice Dam Removal Company
If you are troubled by those icicles on the eaves of your roof, browse our complete line of ice of services, hire us, and we will make you stay ahead of ice dams. Contact us today!