Ice dam’s, what are they?
What is an ice dam?
An ice dam is a wall of ice that forms at the edge of the roof, typically at the gutters or soffit, and prevents melting snow from draining off.
What causes ice dams?
For an ice dam to form, 3 things must be present:
1) Snow on the roof
2) Higher portions of the roof’s external surface must be above 32°F
3) Lower surfaces must be below 32°F
So how do you fix an ice damn?
There are several fixes, but only 1 cure to fixing an ice damn: a combination of better sealing, insulation, and venting in the attic and eaves.
One way to fix an ice dam 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. Seal all points where warm air leaks from the living space into the spaces immediately below the roof sheathing.
You can also purchase a roof rake and remove the snow from the front of your roof. This is a very good way to remove ice and snow if you live in a one story home. However, if the snow is heavy and wet, it can be difficult to remove the snow with the rake.
You can also insulate the living space well enough to prevent conduction and convection of heat through the ceiling
Safety, Safety, Safety
Hacking away at ice dams with a hammer, chisel, or shovel is bad for your roofing and dangerous for you. And throwing salt on them will do more to harm to your plantings than to the ice. Instead, tap lightly with a blunt mallet. This is slow, dangerous work, so hire someone experienced at roofing. Even if you do it safely, the chunks of ice can take pieces of shingle with them.
There is a cure for ice dam's:
1. Seal all points where warm air leaks from the living space into the spaces immediately below the roof sheathing.
2. Insulate the living space well enough to prevent conduction and convection of heat through the ceiling.
3. Vent the space between the insulation and the roof sheathing, so any heat that does leak through is carried away.
Remember, if an ice dam gets big enough, the water can back flow into your home. This can cause many different types of damage to your walls, ceilings, and insulation. If the ice dam gets too big it can also pull the shingles off the roof.
Should you find ice dam damage to your home, we are here to help. Give SERVPRO of LaGrange Park/North Riverside a call at 708-240-4873, and we will be happy to help with all your water damage needs.