Tips to Prevent Ice Dams

Bhakti Satalkar May 4, 2019
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Ice dams are a common occurrence in winters. Most house owners are wary of the ice dams. To prevent these snow melts from entering the house, it is important to know how to prevent ice dams.
The ridge of ice, which is formed at the edge of roof and hinders the snow water from draining off the roof are known as ice dams. Since the water does not drain off the roofs, it accumulates on the roofs itself and may cause roof leaks and damage to the walls and not to forget insulation.
There are different reasons, why the ice dams are formed. One of the most common reason for the same is the insufficient insulation and poor attic ventilation causing the snow from underside to melt.
However, on the roof edge the temperatures are far more lower, due to which it is cold and the water accumulates around the ridge causing ice dams. So that the roof is not damaged, measures have to be taken to prevent ice dams.
Having said that we will turn towards the steps for preventing ice dams. There are two important measures that one will have to take for preventing roof ice dams, namely insulation and ventilation.

Tips to Prevent Ice Dams

Often during winters, it is not uncommon to see people heating up the roofs. However, this causes the underside of the snow to melt and cause ice dams. Therefore, the roofs should not be heated and they should be kept cold. This will ensure that the snow will melt on its own and the water will drain off the roof.
Heat loss often happens, below the attic in the area next to the outside wall. The ceiling insulation will have to be inspected to prevent heat loss. Also the temperature on the underside of the roof deck should not cross over 30ยบ Fahrenheit.
Ventilation will have to be taken care of so that cold air is introduced into the attic, which helps the warm air to escape fast and in the process prevent snow from melting. Baffles may be placed at the eaves, so that there is clear passage for the air from the vents.
If there is an unsealed attic hatch, then it will have to be covered with weather stripped caps, which are made from foil faced foam board. An aluminum tape will have to be used for sealing the caps. It is important to note that the attic hatch is a massive opening for heat to escape, which can give rise to ice dams.
In a number of houses, the exhaust ducts from the kitchen, bathroom, dryer vents, etc., should be made either from the roof or walls, but not from the soffit, which often leads to the formation of ice dams.
The next measure to be taken is to seal all the gaps, which exist around the pipes or electric cables, which cut through the top plates of the walls. One can make use of caulk or expanding foam for the same.
We have just seen the long term measures, which will have to be taken to prevent ice dams. However, there are some immediate measures which can also be taken, as soon as there is snow fall. The first step is to remove the snow from the roof.
One can make use of different ice dam prevention products like roof rake, push broom to get rid of the snow from the roof. However, you will have to take care and make sure you do not cause damage to the roofing material, when you are using the snow removing material.
In case you do see the start of ice dam structure, then you will have to make channels for the water from the ice dam to drain off the roof. If there is a lot of water, then hose the water with the tap water.
However, for this measure to work, it will have to be a warm day. When you are making the channels, you will have to work upward from the lower part of the dam. Once all the water is drained off the roof, the channels will automatically become ineffective.
We really hope that you are now aware about how to prevent ice dams. If you do see the ice dam formation, then you will have to undertake ice dam removal steps, to avoid damage to the structure of the house.
If you stay in an area, where snow fall is a common occurrence, then it is advisable to get an ice dam insurance for your house, so that in case of a damage it will be covered by the insurance.