Protecting Your Home from Winter Ice Dams

1/22/20241 min read

Winter brings with it a picturesque landscape of snow-covered rooftops and glistening icicles. While these scenes may be beautiful, they can also pose a serious threat to the structural integrity of your home in the form of ice dams. Ice dams are a common winter problem that can cause significant damage if not addressed promptly.

What are Ice Dams?

Ice dams are ridges of ice that form at the edge of a roof, preventing melting snow from properly draining off. As the snow on the roof melts, it runs down towards the eaves, where it refreezes due to the colder temperatures. Over time, this process creates a dam-like barrier that traps water on the roof. The trapped water can seep into the roof, causing damage to the shingles, insulation, and even the interior of your home.

Preventing Ice Dams

Video courtesy of Focus on Energy

Preventing ice dams requires a combination of proper insulation, air sealing, and proactive maintenance. Here are some steps you can take to protect your home:

  1. Insulate your attic: Adequate insulation in the attic helps to keep the roof cold and prevent the snow from melting. Make sure to seal any gaps or cracks where warm air may escape into the attic.

  2. Clear snow from the roof: Using a roof rake or hiring a professional, remove snow from the roof after each significant snowfall. This will prevent the buildup of snow and reduce the likelihood of ice dams forming.

  3. Seal air leaks: Inspect your home for any air leaks in the attic, such as the entrance, gaps around the chimney ("chimney chase") and bathroom fans. Seal these gaps with spray foam, caulk or rigid barrier to prevent warm air from escaping into the attic. Our call Green Homeowners United to do that work for you!

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