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October 17, 2016


Natural Factors


How to Prevent Winter Ice Dams from Forming

In the winter, hanging icicles and chunks of ice on the roof are inevitable. Thankfully, they pose no real harm while frozen. That is unless they overload the roof with weight or fall onto your walkway. Nevertheless, what you should worry most about is ice melting and pooling on the roof.

Ice can melt in the middle of winter when the temperature of the roof gets too warm. Since the edges are often coolest, the ice there doesn’t melt at the same rate. Consequently, it blocks any flowing water from above. The flatter the pitch, the easier it will be to prevent water from running.

Once dammed, water seeps below the shingles, causing one of two problems:

  • Leaking into the soffits, walls and ceilings;
  • Re-freezing.

If frozen underneath the shingles, they will pop up or crack, leading to even bigger leaking problems come spring. Thus, it’s best to prepare for dams early and watch for signs of damming all winter long.

How to Cool Your Roof in the Winter

Roofs warm up when too much heat escapes through the attic. Therefore, to prevent ice dams, you need to improve two things:

  1. Insulation—the better insulated the attic, the more heat will be retained inside the home. This not only keeps the roof cool, but it also conserves energy;
  2. Ventilation—with roof and soffit vents, you give warmth a place to escape. This can drastically decrease the temperature of your roof in the winter.

For more information on how to improve the insulation or ventilation of your roof, speak with a professional contractor. He or she can assess your roof before winter and recommend courses of action to prevent ice damming.