Winter is just a few months away. We may have made the necessary preparations for the house interior but that’s not the only issue that we need to settle. Ice dams are a home owner’s worst nightmare as the work involved is terribly hard and dangerous. How can we prevent this and deal with it when it happens?
Ice dams are caused by snow that melts from the attic’s heat. As the water flows down towards the gutters, it freezes almost instantly, creating a sheet of ice along it’s path. The process repeats, until it creates a small “dam” of ice, and droplets form icicles – a dangerous hazard. Any excess melted snow could seep through the shingles, fascia and soffit especially if the gutter isn’t properly installed or maintained. It may look like nature’s art when seen from other houses but when it strikes your own roof, it’s a headache. Water leaking into your house isn’t good — millions of dollars are spent on repairs caused by ice dams every year. The damage it causes is an absolute eyesore – water stains on ceilings, dislodged shingles, peeling paint and sagging gutters.
PREVENTION – Preventing ice dams from happening is easy. A roof ventilation system and lots of ceiling insulation usually does the trick. Insulation regulates the flow of heat from the house up to the roof. An effective roof ventilation can keep the roof sheathing on a cold temperature, just enough not to freeze melted snow. If there are any air leaks in your attic, seal them off. Use spray foam or caulk. Heat tapes can be used too, but having good insulation is better.
CURE – When ice dams do occur the first solution is to get your ladder, make sure it’s properly placed and scrape off the ice. Use a snow rake to get the excess snow off the roof. Hacking or pounding the ice dam is dangerous for you and the roof so it’s not recommended. A quick fix is to use calcium chloride – an ice melter. An old pair of pantyhose can be used to fill with the calcium chloride. It can then be placed on the roof where the melting snow flows down to the gutter. After the quick fixes are done, you can make improvements on your insulation.