As the winter season approaches, you may notice icicles forming on the eaves of your roof. While these icicles may look pretty, they can actually be a sign of a bigger problem – ice damming. Ice damming occurs when the heat from inside your home causes the snow on the roof to melt and then refreeze when it reaches the colder eaves, creating a dam that prevents water from properly draining off the roof. This can lead to water damage to the roof, walls, and ceilings inside your home. So, what causes ice damming, and what can you do to prevent it?

Insulation & Ventilation

One of the main causes of ice damming is improper insulation and ventilation in your attic. When your attic is not properly insulated, heat from inside your home can escape through the roof and melt the snow. Proper insulation and ventilation help to keep your attic cold, reducing the chances of ice damming. You should make sure your attic is properly insulated with the recommended R-value for your area and ensure there is adequate ventilation to allow cold air to circulate.

Air Leaks & Heat Loss

Another factor that contributes to ice damming is air leaks in the attic floor. Air leaks around light fixtures, ducts, and electrical boxes can allow warm air from your home to enter the attic, which can cause the snow to melt on the roof. You should seal any air leaks in the attic floor to prevent warm air from entering the attic.

Snow Build-Up is Bad

Removing snow from your roof, especially near the eaves, can also help to prevent ice damming. Using a roof rake or hiring a professional to remove the snow can help to reduce the build-up of ice dams. You should also make sure your gutters are clean and free of debris to prevent water from backing up and contributing to ice damming.

Heat Cables Can Help

For homeowners who are looking for a more permanent solution to ice damming, installing heating cable, also known as de-icing cable, along the eaves can be an effective solution. Heating cable can help to melt the snow and ice, preventing the formation of ice dams. However, this should only be done by a professional to ensure proper installation and prevent any damage to the roof.

Leave it to the Pros

While these tips can help to prevent ice damming, it’s important to note that correcting ice damming can be dangerous and should be left to professionals. Additionally, it’s important to address the underlying issues that caused the ice damming to prevent it from happening again in the future. Hiring a professional to inspect your roof and make any necessary repairs can help to prevent future ice damming and ensure your roof is in good condition.

Be Proactive

You should take proactive steps to prevent ice damming and protect your home from water damage. Proper insulation and ventilation, sealing air leaks, removing snow from your roof, maintaining gutters, and installing heating cable can all help to prevent ice damming. You should also consider hiring a professional to inspect your roof and make any necessary repairs to prevent future ice damming. By taking these steps, you can enjoy a safe and comfortable winter season without worrying about the damage that ice damming can cause.