When you have snow on your roof and freezing temperatures, it’s not uncommon to see ice damming on your roof. Unfortunately, many homeowners are unaware of what this is, or how potentially damaging it can be to your home.
Ice damming is caused when the gutters clog up with ice, then water runoff from the roof gets trapped by the dam and eventually backs up the roof, travels under the shingles, and leaks into the house.
Here’s how it happens:
- Indoor heat rises through the ceiling into the attic and warms the roof surface.
- Snow on the heated part of the roof melts and flows down until it reaches the part of the roof that is below 32 degrees where it freezes and turns into an ice dam.
- The dam then continues to grow as it’s fed more and more melted snow from above, but water held by the dam backs up and stays liquid.
- Eventually, the water finds cracks in the roof covering and flows into the attic, from where it could seep into the ceiling and interior walls.
- The melting of roof snow comes from two reasons: Inadequate roof insulation, heat leaks, and inadequate ventilation, called a warm roof, allow heat conducted through the roof to melt snow on those areas of the roof that are above heated living spaces, but the snow does not melt on roof overhangs. Also, the normal freeze-thaw cycle melts snow on warm or sunny days, and this snowmelt continues to run down the roof on cold nights.
While a permanent fix for ice dams usually requires increasing the insulation, sealing, and ventilation in the attic, there are temporary solutions from our roof repair division that can minimize any damage from this storm until you have more time to evaluate your ventilation and insulation.
Give us a call for more information on preventative measures, or to schedule a time for us to remedy a current ice damming situation at your home.