Heavy snowfall can lead to ice dams, and that can lead to water leaking inside your home
When a big snowfall hits, our eyes tend to stay focused on the ground – shovelling sidewalks, moving cars so snowplows can come through, putting down some sand on icy spots. But it’s a good idea to look up, too.
- Does your roof tend to accumulate snow?
- Are there deep valleys that trap snow?
- Does your home have a tendency to form icicles on the roofline?
If so, you may need to rake your roof or risk forming ice dams.
Ice dams are a function of a warm roof surface and cool edges, often from inadequate insulation or roof ventilation. Rain gutters can complicate things as well. Ideally, your attic space will be insulated to prevent heat loss from inside the home from escaping through the roof. The underside of a roof should be vented from eave to peak to keep the roof surface cool. In many homes, especially older homes, this isn’t the case.
How do ice dams form?
When heat escapes through a snowy roof, it melts the snow on top. The meltwater runs down the roof until it reaches the edge, or falls into the rain gutter. The cooler temperatures here allow the water to refreeze, forming icicles and often what is called an ice dam. An ice dam is a ridge of ice build-up along the roof edge or in the gutter. Eventually, this becomes large enough that the melting water can’t escape over it and begins to back up on the roof surface. This is where things can get ugly.
The standing water behind an ice dam can seep under the roof shingles, where it penetrates into the home. You may see the results indoors in the form of watermarks on your ceiling, water filling a light fixture, drips in one of your windows, or sagging plaster or drywall. At this point, you have a serious problem.
How do I get rid of ice dams?
Prevention is the best approach.
Before ice dams happen:
- Make sure your home is well insulated, and pay attention to the roof ventilation.
- Use a roof rake to remove snow at least six feet from the eaves, and in any deep valleys.
- When installing a new roof, ice and water membrane is usually required at least two feet from the edge, and in valleys. Consider extending this further on the roof if you have known trouble spots.
- Heat tapes are an option for trouble spots. These electric cables will melt channels in the ice and allow water to escape. They can be useful on the lower portion of the roof or in tricky roof valleys.
If you need the help of professionals, request a callback! Supreme Contractors Group provides professional and safe snow removal services. Take care of your home and health!