Ice dams are a common occurrence during the winter months. They can be caused by snow and ice buildup on your roof or near your gutters and eavestroughs, which then melts and refreezes when it comes in contact with warmer air coming from inside of your house.
This is a guide to help you understand what an ice dam is, how they form, and some ways to deal with them!
Before we get into how to deal with ice dam building up in your gutters and eavestroughs, let’s start with what ice dams are and how they form.
What Are Ice Dams and How Do They Form?
An ice dam, also known as a roof ice damming, is a blockage or accumulation of ice which forms at the eaves, gutters, or base of a sloped roof.
This blockage prevents water from flowing off the roof and is very common during the winter months. Water on the roof freezes and expands, building up more ice behind the dam, thereby increasing the ice dam’s height and weight.
Is it Bad to Have Ice in Your Gutters?
Ice buildup in your gutters is a serious problem. It can cause damage to the downspouts, your gutters, and even worse, leak into your home’s foundation!
This makes it necessary for you to get rid of any ice buildup that may be in or around your eavestroughs. Preparing your roof with proper maintenance can help as well! but what causes an ice dam to form?
What Causes Ice Build up in Eavestroughs?
Ice can build up in your eavestroughs from a combination of something happening outside and inside your home.
Outside snow accumulates on your roof, while inside your heat is trying to escaping through your ceilings. The heat melts any snow on top of your roof that then freezes once it comes into contact with colder air. This causes an ice dam to form in your gutters.
Ice dams can form in the following situations:
- There is snow building up on your roof
- The average temperature is below 0 degrees
- Your roof’s temperature is above 0 degrees on its higher-end and below 0 degrees on its lower end
Do Gutter Guards Cause Ice Dams?
There is a common misconception that ice dams form due to gutter guards. This isn’t the case at all.
Gutter guards prevent leaves and other debris from entering your gutters, but they do not stop ice accumulation on top of your roof.
Ice will still build up in your eavestroughs even if you have gutter guard because heat escapes through gaps and cracks found anywhere around or within the structure of a home.
How to Deal with Ice Dams in Your Eavestroughs
Now that we know what causes ice dams and how they form, it’s time to talk about the ways you can deal with them. To prevent further damage from occurring or getting worse you’ll want to take action as soon as possible.
How Do You Stop Ice Buildup in Eavestroughs?
There are a few ways that you can prevent ice dams from building up in your eavestroughs.
First, try to make sure to clear all snow and debris off of your roof before it begins to accumulate! It is also important for gutters to be completely free of any leaves or other debris because this will keep the water flowing smoothly down the length of the gutter.
Installing heat cables is another great way to prevent them from forming. Once you have them installed, you can have the ice melt away quickly and effectively.
Finally, ensure that there isn’t anything blocking airflow around vents at different points along your roof such as exhaust fans and soffit ventilation systems. These simple steps should help you avoid an ice dam build-up in your gutters during winter months!
How Do You Remove Ice Dams From Roof?
Removing an ice dam on top of a sloped roof can be a very dangerous task. If you’re not careful, ice dams can cave in and cause damage to your home or serious injuries!
Don’t attempt to remove it while standing on your roof. A safer way to get rid of an ice dam is by using ladders to reach the area where it has formed.
Removing the buildup of ice from your eavestroughs can be done manually with some extra elbow grease! Use squeegees, a hose, buckets, and HOT WATER, anything that will help melt away any existing build up of snow or debris so water flows freely through the gutters.
Don’t attempt to chip away at the snow with a shovel or sharp tool, as this can move the ice and damage your roof or gutters. Melting the ice is the best solution.
There are also professional companies that specialize in removing ice dams off of roofs for homeowners who do not want to take on this task themselves.
Everything You Need to Know About Ice Damming Roofs
Ice dams can be a serious problem for homeowners. Learning about the causes and how to deal with them is important so you don’t have any more problems in your home or on your roof.
It starts with understanding ice dams, preventing them, and lastly knowing how to safely remove them. Otherwise you’ll need a professional roofing company sooner than would’ve been necessary.
If you’re interested in learning more, feel free to contact us with any questions!