The Dangers of Ice Dams

Ice Dams

It’s not even winter yet and it has already snowed twice on Long Island and unfortunately, it looks like this winter is going to see a lot of snow. With lots of snow the risk of water damage, and consequentially mold damage, becomes an issue.

An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents melting snow from draining off the roof. The water that backs up behind the dam can leak into a home and cause water damage to walls, ceilings, insulation, and other areas of your home. An ice dam forms when heat collects in the attic and warms the roof, except at the eaves. Then, snow melts on the warm roof and freezes on the cold eaves. Finally, ice accumulates along the eaves, forming a dam. Melted water from the warm roof backs up behind it, flows under the shingles, and into the house—causing water damage.

How to spot an ice dam

Icicles hanging along the eaves of your house may look beautiful, but they spell trouble. That’s because the same conditions that allow icicles to form also lead to ice dams: thick ridges of solid ice that build up along the eaves.

How to Prevent Ice Dams

If you notice ice dams forming after it snows do not try to hack them. Hacking away at ice dams with a hammer, chisel, or shovel is not only going to harm your roof, but could injure you as well. Removing the snow from your roof using a special aluminum snow rake will help. Another fix is to take a box fan into the attic and aim it at the underside of the roof where water is actively leaking in. This targeted dose of cold air will freeze the water in its tracks.

If your home has water or mold damage from ice dams, contact the experts at Branch Services.