How to Prevent and Treat Ice Dams

Ice dams are one of the worst winter problems and cause serious damage to your home. Ice dams usually occur during a cold winter season when there's snow on your roof. Here's everything you need to know about ice dams and how to treat them:

What Is an Ice Dam?

An ice dam is a buildup of ice on the roof that causes water to leak into your home.

When you heat your home, water from the roof evaporates. The vapor then travels through your attic and exits through vents in the chimney or gables. If there's too much snow on your roof, though, it can't melt and evaporate as easily. That's when an ice dam forms: a ridge of ice that runs along the edge of your roof and keeps the water trapped inside.

The moisture seeps into the walls of your home, where it causes damage to wood framing and insulation. This moisture leads to mold growth and structural damage down the road.

How to Prevent Ice Dams

If you want to prevent ice dams, there are a few proactive steps that are taken. You should insulate and seal your roof to keep heat in and cold air out. 

You should also use a roof rake to remove snow and ice. Using a long-handled tool called a roof rake or snow rake (available at any hardware store) allows you to scrape off all the snow that has accumulated so far this winter. This gives it plenty of time before temperatures rise enough for water that melted from snow or rain droplets to freeze again on top of what remains in place.

It is also important to make sure your gutters are clean and flowing properly. This is important because ice dams form when the snow melts from your roof, then freezes again at the edge of your roof. If there's debris blocking the flow of water down your gutters, this causes buildup on top of your roof, leading to an ice dam.

How to Melt an Ice Dam

Here are three of the most common ways to get rid of an ice dam on your roof:

The first thing to do is to increase ventilation in your attic. Ventilation is key to preventing ice dams by allowing moisture to escape the roof, averting any water that has accumulated from being trapped in the attic.

The second thing you need to do is add insulation; insulation keeps heat from escaping from the house and helps prevent ice dams from forming. Also, try installing electric cables along the edge of your roof. These run along the eaves and are designed to slowly melt an ice dam before damage occurs. If you follow these steps, you’re successful at getting rid of ice dams before they cause serious damage!

The third thing to do to get rid of ice dams is to seal off every possible air leak that might warm the underside of your roof. These air leaks cause snow to melt during the day and refreeze overnight. You should also seal around windows and doors.

Ice dams are a pain for all homeowners, but it’s not something you need to live with. There are plenty of steps to take to prevent ice dams from happening and eliminate them if they do occur. With the right information and tools at hand, you make sure your roof stays in tip-top shape throughout the winter season! If you need any assistance with roof maintenance this season, give our team at Lewis Roofing a call! 

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