I almost forgot we were still in the middle of Winter. We have been pretty spoiled with the mild temps here in Iowa but Mother Nature reminded us this past week that we are still in Winter after receiving 10+ inches of snowfall! With the melting and refreezing of the snow in the coming weeks, homeowners need to be reminded of a problem that many don't think about...Ice Dams. Read on for information on what an ice dam is, the damage that can be done to your home and ways to prevent it from happening to you.
Ice Dams are a problem of house and building maintenance on sloping roofs in cold climates. Accumulated snow on a sloping roof melts and flows down the roof, under the blanket of snow until it reaches below freezing temperatures, typically at the eaves. Ice then accumulates which forms the dam. Snow that melts later cannot drain properly through the dam and problems then arise. You may develop roof leaks which can cause damage to ceilings, walls, roof structures and insulation.
In new construction, ice dams are easily prevented through building designs with adequate insulation and roof ventilation. Existing roofs may allow the addition of more insulation and mechanical ventilation.
If you have ice dams forming, immediate action is needed to remove the snow accumulation on your roof. A roof rake can help with this job. To be successful, the entire roof must be shoveled. Shoveling part way up a roof will cause an ice dam to form at the location where the snow was left, because the meltwater will freeze when it hits the freezing air. Removing snow from your entire roof, may be dangerous because it could require climbing on ladders or walking on roofs, so it is highly advised to contact a professional.
If you have damage caused by a roof leak, typically your homeowners insurance will cover this less your deductible. Contact your insurance agent to find out details.
To prevent ice dams in the future, check with your local experts for an energy audit on your home and to see if your roof would benefit from some minor maintenance.