Do you love the look of your home encrusted in ice? It kind of gives it a fairy-tale glimmer, especially when the sun comes out.
But danger lurks in the beauty. Ice dams on your roof can damage your home and icicles hanging from your eaves can fall and injure people. These issues can even cause respiratory distress in the people that live there!
How are ice dams so dangerous and what can you do to prevent and remove them? Read on to find out!
Why Are Ice Dams Dangerous?
Is there a lot of snow piled on your roof? You need to watch out for ice dams.
As the snow deepens on top of your roof, the upper layers act as insulation. The warmth from your home can warm the lower layers enough that the snow melts and begins to run down your roof.
As it nears the edge of the roof, it can get cold enough to refreeze and start building an ice dam. This is particularly likely to happen if your gutters are blocked or broken because the water can’t flow away easily. This is a prime reason why gutter repair is crucial in the fall.
As the dam forms, new water and snow begin to pile up behind it, creating a small pool on your roof. If that water sits there long enough, it can seep down through the roof and start causing damage to your home.
In addition to the structural damage, the dark, moist conditions are perfect for mold to grow. Leave mold alone for a few days and you’ll have a colony large enough to cause respiratory issues for those breathing the air in your house.
How to Prevent Ice Dams
There are a few ways you can prevent ice dams. One of the easiest is to have a gutter repair company clean and inspect your gutters before the first snowfall. This will help ensure the water drains away like it is supposed to.
Since warm air coming up through your roof is a major culprit, installing extra attic insulation can help keep the snow from melting. This method is more expensive but can be worth it if you are having a lot of problems. You can also include attic ventilation to keep the area cooler.
When the snow falls, head out with a rake and pull the snow off about 3 - 4 feet up from your eaves. Alternatively, you can install heated cables to warm the eaves.
How to Remove Ice Dams
If the ice dam has already formed, you can remove it with calcium chloride (not rock salt which is bad for your roof and vegetation). Place pantyhose or tube socks filled with calcium chloride to create channels through the snow that will allow water to run down to your gutters.
You can also break up the ice dam by hacking at it. However, this method is dangerous and you can potentially damage your roof.
Keeping Your Home Safe This Winter
Never underestimate the danger of ice dams and icicles. They might be beautiful, but they are dangerous to both you and the structure of your home.
If you need help with ice dams or prepping your home for winter, don’t hesitate to reach out to us!