Wintertime icicles may pretty and pleasing to the eye, however, icicles usually indicate a more serious and potentially costly problem.

Using the recommended ice dam prevention methods will assist in the prevention of ice dams forming and help avoid costly damages down the road.

The cold, hard facts about ice dams

You’d think ice dams would be caused by an attic that is too cold, but in fact, it’s just the opposite. Your attic is a buffer zone between your toasty warm house and the freezing temps outside. Snow on the roof over of a cold attic stays snowy, but when an attic is too warm, it causes the snow to melt and run down refreezing near your roof’s edge.

Once an ice dam has formed, it will continue to trap melted snow making the ice dam even larger and heavier. Eventually, the ice will begin to push up under shingles causing interior leaks. Act fast and contact a roofing professional, if you notice any signs of ice dam formation.

Prevention tips

Maintain the cleanliness of your gutters. Cleaning your gutters and keeping them free of dirt and debris is a very simple technique to prevent ice dams. This will make certain the melted water has somewhere to go and will flow away from your home.

Avoid heat loss by plugging air leaks. Air leaks can be tough to stop, but most heat loss is through the ceiling into the attic. Always inspect your attic and plug any unblocked walls, gaps in drywall, and cracks around pipes and your chimney. Try using foam or caulking as a solution.

Plan to remove snow. After each snowfall, remove the top layers or snow from your roof with a roof rake (snow rake) which will eliminate ice dam formation. Please do this with caution if you choose to do this yourself and never use a roof rake when standing on a ladder.

Ensure proper attic insulation and ventilation. Check your attic’s insulation and ventilation, if heat is escaping, not only will it make your energy bills rise, but bad bad insulation or faulty ventilation will cause the snow on your roof to melt, filling your gutters with water and eventually creating an ice dam.

Consult a professional. Call Highmark to assess the potential risk for ice dams, properly insulate attic spaces, stop air leaks, and remove any already formed ice dams. To schedule an appointment, contact us by filling out our form or calling 952-641-6086.