Ice dams are a big problem for property owners. They can cause leaks and other severe damage to your home and business. Here’s what you need to know about ice dams.

First, it’s good to understand what an Ice Dam is

An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents melting snow from draining off the roof. The water that backs up behind the dam can leak into your home and cause damage to walls, ceilings, insulation, and other areas.

How they form

Ice Dams are formed by nonuniform roof surface temperatures causing melting and freezing all at the same time. Heat loss from a house, snow cover, and outside temperatures interact to form ice dams. For ice dams to form there must be snow on the roof and, at the same time, higher portions of the roof’s outside surface must be above 32 degrees F (freezing) while lower surfaces are below 32F.

The snow on a roof surface that is above freezing will melt. As water flows down the roof it reaches the portion of the roof that is below 32F and freezes. This causes the ice dam. The dam grows as it is fed by the melting snow above it, but it will limit itself to the portions of the roof that average below 32F. 

Preventing Ice dams:

Keep your gutters clean- Just cleaning your gutters can really help in limiting the formation of ice dams.

Use a roof rake after heavy snowfalls- This is a great way to get rid of the source of the ice dams by removing the key element of snow! By removing the first 6-8 ft of snow from the roof edge, you greatly reduce the risk of ice dam formation. Some situations require more snow to be removed but most often can be accomplished in the first 6-8 ft.

Use an ice-melt product- calcium chloride or an ice-melt product- When ice dams form you can use certain ice melts to break through the snow. It is best to check with eh manufacturer of your roofing material to make sure the ice melt is safe for your roof.

Improve insulation- Improving the insulation in your home can be a great way to keep ice dams from forming as you are eliminating another key element heat from escaping and warning the roof enough to cause the snow to melt and run down and freeze. Additionally adding more insulation can save you money on heating and cooling costs. 

Install heating cables- to melt sometimes there are areas no matter how hard we try we are just susceptible to ice dams. Heart cables are a great way to remove the formation as they keep areas of the roof clear of snow/ice allowing melting snow/ice to melt off the roof. 

Ice dams are a real problem that causes damage to properties every year. While most insurance policies will cover the cost of cleanup and repairs from the effects of a water dam such as water or mold, prevention of ice dams can  Preventing ice dams is possible through proper insulation, heating, and maintenance of your home, but it does take a commitment to preparedness for icy winter weather.

Contact Us For Help with an Ice Dam

If you need some help preventing or even removing an ice dam call a professional. Here at Better View Landscapes, we know Massachusetts winters because we’ve been serving customers for over half a century. Don’t let ice and snow weigh your roof down and create expensive problems. We can ensure your home is safe from the dangers of ice dams. To learn more about how Better View Landscapes can help, check out our website by clicking this link