Gutters frozen solid with an ice dam blocking any melting water from flowing out of the gutters.

Winter weather can bring snow, ice, and a host of other issues for homeowners. Of all the chores and issues, you need to consider, one of the most important to keep in mind is ice dams. Ice dams can cause severe damage to your roof and can be indicative of larger problems within the roof of your home.  

What Causes Ice Dams? 

Ice dams form when your home’s warm air heats your roof, melting the snow, and then it freezes again as ice. Ice dams are bad because they keep melting water from running off your home. They can also be heavy and cause water damage and leaks. If you’re concerned about ice dams building up on your roof, check out some of Feazel’s best ways to prevent ice dams below! 

Often, too much insulation or not enough ventilation prevents heat loss from occurring in your attic space. The warmth is trapped in and can create other long-term problems such as mold growth and mildew formation. Not to mention, a heated attic has warmth that will permeate throughout the upper levels of your home. This will cause elevated HVAC bills and will create an environment that is suitable for the formation of ice dams.  

Ice dams and icicles can cause extensive and costly damage to roof and gutter systems. Signs of ice dams include ice buildup in your gutters and icicles.  

Ice dams can lead to water damage when melted snow and ice melt back up behind the dam, pushing under the roof shingles and seeping beneath the roof surface and soaking the roof deck. They can create leaks in the attic space where it can start to damage insulation on the attic floor, ceilings, exterior walls, and other areas of your home. 

Roofs with inadequate ventilation ice up in snowy conditions due to the differences between the attic and outside air temperature. This leads to ice dams at the roof edge as meltwater pools at the ice dam and leaks under the shingles and into your home. 

Ice Dam Removal Solutions 

Besides reevaluating your attic insulation and attic ventilation systems, there is another step you can take to help protect yourself from these pesky ice dams that doesn't require you to get on your roof during the cold, and danger, of winter snowfall. Of course, gutter cables cannot be installed once an ice dam forms so these do require a proactive approach.  

Heating Cables Turn Ice into Water 

Heating cables provide an effective and economical method of preventing ice dams and icicles from forming on roofs and in gutters. By installing heated roof and gutter de-icing cables along the edge of your roof and in the gutters and downspouts, a drain path is created allowing meltwater to properly melt and drain away from your roof. This prevents potentially hazardous ice dams while using only pennies of energy a day.  

Additionally, the self-regulating cable technology automatically adjusts the heat output of the cable based on the surrounding temperature to reduce energy consumption. 

Roof and gutter cable solutions are designed for both residential and commercial roof and gutter de-icing and pipe heat tracing applications. They are suitable for various roofing materials as well as metal or plastic pipes. 

Roof Rakes are a Good Removal Option 

A roof rake can be used to gently pry away pieces of the dam to a manageable size.  

How NOT to Remove Ice Dams 

It may seem counterproductive, but salt is not the best choice for melting an ice dam. It can cause damage to your yard as all the water drains.  

Heavy tools, such as a hammer or an icepick, can pierce holes in your roof or gutters resulting in damage that needs to be repaired as soon as possible.  

Feazel is a Roofing Company 

Feazel has been roofing for over 30 years. During that time, we’ve helped thousands of homeowners with their roof problems. If an ice dam has created a leak in your home, contact us today to get your roof inspection underway. One of our friendly staff members will meet you at your home to evaluate, diagnose, and explain your options.