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How to Prevent Ice Dams on Your Roof

Now that the big snow storm is over, it’s important to make sure that ice is not damming on your roof. Ice damming causes water backup, which can damage your home’s walls and ceilings.

What are Ice Dams?

Ice dams occur after a heavy snowfall that is followed by several days of very cold weather.

How do they form?

They form when warm air in the attic causes the roof to warm and the snow on the roof to melt. Water running down the roof refreezes when it reaches the colder roof edge, which forms a mound of ice.

Now, the ice traps meltwater, which can seep back up under your shingles and drip through your roof and into your house. Ice dams can cause serious water damage to your home’s walls, ceilings, and other areas.


Proper Insulation– The key to preventing ice dams is to simply keep your attic and roof cold. Your roof needs to be as cold on its underside as the outdoor temperature. Insulate your attic’s floor if it isn’t already. Building codes require about 12 to 14in. of fiberglass or cellulose insulation, so check the depth of your insulation, and add to it if it’s not up to code.

You should also make sure that the soffits in your attic are vented, and that these vents are not blocked at the gable ends. Ice dams and leaks are almost certain if these vents are insufficient.

Snow Removal- After a snow storm, remove the snow from your roof. Not all the snow has to be removed, but the more the better. You should also consider using a roof rake, because it will better remove the snow from the edge of your roof, and prevent ice build-up when used on a regular basis.

Roofing Material- For a more long-term solution to prevent the leaks from ice dams entering your home, add a 3 foot strip of rubberized material along the eave edge of your roof, under new shingles.

As always, Tracy-Driscoll can be reached at 860-589-3434, with any questions regarding home, auto, business, life, and health insurance.