If you live somewhere that snows and see shelves of ice on your roof's edge, you might be dealing with ice dams. They can be a danger to your roof, so you need to take care of them right away. Here are some things to know about ice dams.
What Contributes to the Formation of Ice Dams
When your roof gets too warm while snow is on the roof it can cause it to melt. The melted snow drips into the gutter or sits near the edge. If it is still freezing out, the melted snow quickly re-freezes, forming the ice dams. Many of them occur inside the gutter because the gutters are clogged with debris and the water sits inside without going down the spout. While some people might think a lot of snow is required to cause ice dams, this can happen with even a small amount of snow.
The Dangers Associated With Ice Dams
The reason you don't want ice dams is because they can damage many different parts of your roof, including the roof edging, shingles and other roofing materials, and the gutters if they get too heavy. If the dams are severe and not removed, the roof damage could cause cracks in the underlayment, which then causes leaks inside the attic or top floor of the home. It is important to be aware of ice dams and have them removed as soon as possible. If you notice any water spots on the ceiling or walls of your home, get the roof inspected to find out what the problem is.
What to Do About Ice Dams
If you find evidence of ice dams, it is advised that you have a roofing contractor remove them. They can be difficult to remove and you might end up causing even more damage if it is done incorrectly. If this isn't an option, be very careful when going up to the roof. Use either an ice pick or axe to break apart the ice dams. Always be aware of where the roofing materials are so you don't accidentally damage it. After removing the dams, remove any remaining snow from the roof by using a roof rake.
How to Prevent Them
The two important ways to prevent ice dams is by keeping snow from building up on the roof and prevent the roof from getting too warm. If the roof is getting too warm, it is usually due to lack of insulation in the attic. Have a professional inspect the insulation and improve it if necessary.
If the roof has been damaged from the ice dams, contact a roofing contractor to inspect it and make the necessary roof repairs.