Ice dams occur because of hot spots on the roof of your home. When warm air leaks into your attic, it rises to the highest point of the space. These hot spots warm up your roof and cause the snow in those locations to melt. The melting snow rolls down to the eaves of the roof, where the water refreezes and backs up under the shingles, causing leaks and other damage. This kind of cycle takes place all winter long as snow falls, melts and falls again. Knowing how to prevent an ice dam can help save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in repairs this winter.
How can you prevent an ice dam?
You can prevent an ice dam by doing several things. To begin with, you can increase the insulation in your attic to prevent warm air from the lower floors from rising to the top of the house. This will help prevent the formation of hot spots in the upper floors of your home. You can also insulate your attic duct work. This stops air from leaking out of the ducts and into the attic.
Finally, you can also clean out your gutters at the beginning of the winter. This prevents freezing water from backing up around the eaves of your house and helps ensure good drainage from the roof down to the ground.
How can you tell if an ice dam has formed on your home?
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, an ice dam may form anyway. Early signs of an ice dam may include uneven melting of the snow on your roof and formation of icicles around your eaves. Later stages may include roof leaks and water leaks down the walls of your home. If an ice dam forms on your roof, you'll also be able to see a formation of ice or big wet spots on the underside of your roof.
What should you do if your roof forms an ice dam?
If your roof develops an ice dam, you can solve the immediate problem by increasing circulation in your attic. By letting cold circulate around your attic, you'll encourage the water leaking into the attic to re-freeze. Plug in a few fans in your attic and aim them at the wet spot. This will help.
Once this is done, you can contact roofing contractors in your area. Allow each roofer you contact to come to your home and give you a bid for repairs. For more information, contact a roofing contractor and ask him or her any questions you may have about the process.