The snow continues to fall, school continues to be canceled, and the grinding of snow-plows has become background noise… but don’t despair… the Groundhog saw his shadow yesterday… Spring is near! (We hope!!!)
Driving around town, you may notice large icicles hanging from roofs and thick ice at the edge of the roofs. Yes, this is often a normal sign of winter, but there is also the concern that ice dams may be forming. Ice dams can and do occur during any winter season, yet this year, the weather pattern created a “perfect storm” (pun intended) for the formation of them. I have driven by a number of homes in recent days with the homeowners on their roofs trying to remove the snow or at least remove the snow closest to the dams. Homeowners are trying to stop or prevent the ice dams from causing major problems in their walls, attics, gutters, etc.
What are ice dams?
Ideally, when snow accumulates on a roof, it would simply melt and flow through the gutters to the ground. However, there are two factors that can combine to cause this to not occur, and can create ice dams on your roof/gutter. The first factor is the temperature in your attic. If this is too warm, then it will cause the snow on the roof to melt too quickly. Combine this with the temperature outside falling to very low levels (as it did a few times in the past two weeks) and this melting snow will re-freeze on the roof, forming an ice dam. With the block of ice now entrenched, as snow continues to melt, it will pool back up the roof, and in some cases leak through the shingles.
Hire someone or fix it yourself?
I would love to recommend fixing ice dams yourself, since none of us want to spend money on unexpected problems. However, this is probably a risky thing to undertake. If you have no experience in removing an ice dam, it is in your best interest to hire someone who does. Many things could happen to you or your house, so please do the right research and talk with the experts. A couple of problems that could occur:
- You could cause damage to the shingles on the roof, which in turn could cause more water to leak into your home.
- You could cause harm to your body if the ice/snow quickly falls from the roof.
- You could fall off the roof or your ladder may slip off the roof.
- You could break the gutter off the house.
- So many more.
From all the research that I did, I found State Farm Insurance Company the most helpful in explaining ice dams in the most straightforward manner. Please click here for more information on ice dams.