Lack Of Home Maintenance Leads To Winter Ice Dams

Real Estate Agent with Signature Real Estate

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.

Keep Warm!



- Wanda

Posted by
Licensed to Sell Real Estate In The State Of Iowa
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Comments (4)

James Quarello
JRV Home Inspection Services, LLC - Wallingford, CT
Connecticut Home Inspector

Wanda, While insulation and ventilation play a part in the prevention of ice dams, they may be called the obvious solutions. And sometimes, not the solutions at all. I wrote on this very subject in some detail a time ago.

Feb 06, 2015 09:13 PM
Bruce Walter
Keller Williams Realty Lafayette/West Lafayette, Indiana - West Lafayette, IN

Wanda, this is great information for us here in the Mid West with our continutal freeze and thaw cycle, and what to do to alleviate the problem.

Feb 06, 2015 09:13 PM
Faith LaRosse
Springer Realty Group - Limerick, PA
Serving Berks, Chester & Montgomery Counties

I had a client that wound up with some serious leaking in their family room due to a clogged gutter at the downspout.  Needless to say, they were quite upset that a simple solution could have avoided this costly mess.

Feb 06, 2015 09:16 PM
Tom Arstingstall, General Contractor, Dry Rot, Water Damage Sacramento, El Dorado County - (916) 765-5366
Dry Rot and Water Damage Mobile - 916-765-5366 - Placerville, CA
General Contractor, Dry Rot and Water Damage

We don't have ice dam conversations in our neighborhood but it is important to those up the hill from here! 

Feb 06, 2015 11:07 PM